AUC Road to College Provides Free, Online English Courses for High School Students
AUC is the first educational institution in the Middle East to offer free, English-language online courses designed specifically for high school students in Egypt.
Its newly launched AUC Road to College program provides free, online, self-paced courses with no minimum level of English required. The courses, which are academically and culturally tailored, will enable Egyptian high school students to compete for admission to English-language universities, including AUC and other institutions in Egypt or abroad.
“Service is a key pillar for AUC,” says AUC President Ahmad Dallal. “Since English-language proficiency is a critical ability that is often an obstacle for otherwise talented students and since supplementary English training can be expensive, the program helps close this gap. It is part of our social responsibility toward the community at large.”
AUC Road to College is a fully online, 12-course, leveled English-language program that allows middle and high school students across Egypt to further develop their fluency outside of the classroom. “This initiative is part of a larger University strategy to increase access for the most talented students, regardless of their financial ability, to quality higher institutions like AUC,” says Provost Ehab Abdel-Rahman. “By taking these courses, participating students will have higher chances of getting accepted into English-language universities they apply and can better integrate into university life.”
The courses are designed by AUC’s English instructors and include six modules, each of which requires an average of three to four hours of learning. However, students can self-pace their progress, allowing them to move at a speed that best suits their learning abilities and personal schedules. “If students find difficulty finishing in four hours, they can revisit and replay the course material at their own pace,” says Hoda Mostafa, professor of practice and director of AUC’s Center for Learning and Teaching, which developed the program online and collaborated with AUC's IT team to develop the digital platform. “Learners can access the courses multiple times, anytime, anywhere.”
The program helps students improve their writing, listening, reading and speaking skills — key components of attending English-language universities — through relevant topics and contexts. “The courses incorporate articles, videos, audio material, activities and peer-to-peer discussions that provide students with the most effective and engaging learning experience,” explains Ghada Elshimi (MA '93), dean of undergraduate studies and The Academy of Liberal Arts, which designed courses for the program. “Higher levels and new courses will continually be added to better serve and empower students with the skills needed for the market.”
Now in its second pilot cohort, the program has been performing well. Students from the first cohort provided positive feedback, ranging from good course organization and engaging activities to accessibility and flexibility.
“We exceeded the expected number of students in our pilot, which had more than 48,000 learners create accounts and more than 12, 500 learners enrolled in the courses from various backgrounds. Interest is growing exponentially, and we will continue incorporating student feedback for continuous regular improvement,” says Mostafa.
In the future, the program aims to expand to include public speaking, communication skills, emotional intelligence, design thinking and creative problem solving. “We want to expose students to liberal arts pedagogies that will equip them with transferable task-based, project-based and experiential learning skills, as well as enhance their independent learning abilities and digital literacy necessary for success at university,” says Elshimi.
“We want young students to be assured they can do anything they set their minds to,” says Dallal. “Learning English may open the door for them to achieve their goals, study at an esteemed university, land their dream jobs or travel, and AUC is excited to help them access more opportunities.”