2024 Foundation Year University Placements


Cohort 15

Image 1: KGSP Cohort 15

37 Foundation Year (FY) students from the KAUST Gifted Student Program’s (KGSP) cohort 15 were admitted to top institutions across the country to pursue undergraduate degrees in various STEM fields. The Program once again saw a 100 percent placement rate and a 51 percent admissions rate, on par with previous cycles, all while consistently increasing the competitiveness of students’ submission plans. 14 students were admitted to some of the most competitive universities in the US. FY students are joining a community of young-adult changemakers as they embark on their respective undergraduate journeys.

For the 2024-2025 academic year, FY students successfully gained admission to top institutions including Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Pennsylvania. Six students will be attending (MIT), the second-highest placement rate for MIT in the Program’s history. Of the 18 percent of FY applications submitted to highly competitive institutions, notable admissions include three students admitted to the University of California, Berkeley, two students attending Columbia University, two admitted to Stanford University, and one student attending the University of Pennsylvania beginning fall 2024.

Alzahrani  Abdullah

Image 2: Abdullah Alzahrani, incoming freshman at Columbia University majoring in Computer Science.

The KGSP FY Program provides a unique curriculum focused on building essential tools and resources for gifted Saudi high school graduates necessary to tackle their undergraduate studies. FY students attend a select group of KGSP partner universities, including North Carolina State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas at Austin. Students enroll in non-credited college-level coursework in science, math, and academic writing, and also receive personalized support from their KGSP Advisors based on their individual academic preferences. This preparatory program equips them with the necessary tools to excel in standardized testing and submit competitive undergraduate application packets to universities in the US.

The FY Program is a crucial component of the KGSP experience that is dedicated to developing top Saudi youth and designed to prepare them to contribute to the growth of the Kingdom and the mission of Vision 2030. Abdullah Alzahrani attended the University of Pennsylvania’s FY Program and will attend Columbia University to pursue a degree in Computer Science this fall. “The FY program at UPenn prepared me holistically for my undergraduate journey, setting the stage for my aspirations at Columbia University,” Abdullah said reflecting on this time in the Program. “From anthropology research to quantum computing talks, alongside mastering calculus and physics, I've gained a diverse skill set… I can't wait to dive into all the amazing opportunities at Columbia University!” Looking back on the sense of community the Program offered, Abdullah added, “The FY Program was like joining a big, brilliant family… We didn't just study together; we shared stories, laughed, and even had friendly debates that expanded our horizons. I learned something new from [everyone].”

The KGSP is excited to welcome all 37 FY students to the graduating class of 2028. The Program looks forward to their continued commitment to success in the coming years.