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Alumni Profile: Ali Al Sibahi

26 Mar 2018

At Ealing Independent College we take great pride in the support we provide in helping students reach their goals and fulfil their true potential. Ensuring a caring and focused study environment where students feel comfortable and where confidence is encouraged is a hallmark of the College, and is why we are amongst the top in the country in helping students progress and improve their grades. 

We are extremely proud of the results our students achieve during their time at the College, but also beyond the College as they embark on their university degrees and careers. As part of a series of alumni profiles we are delighted to share this piece written by Ali Al Sibahi, who left the College in 2015 after achieving AAB in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. He gained a place at his first choice university, UCL, and is now in his third year of his pharmacy degree at the Russell Group University. 

My name is Ali and I am currently in my third year of a four-year Masters of Pharmacy degree at University College London (UCL).

When I was asked to give a speech and write this article for Ealing Independent College (EIC), I was equal parts nervous and excited. After all, it is a considerable honour to be asked by one’s former college to return and inspire a new generation of students, as well as to be able to extend a heartfelt thanks to the teachers who made such a difference in my life.

Attending UCL was a dream of mine all the way back when I was a young student at EIC, fresh from GSCEs. While I worked hard at my previous state school, I wasn’t working to my potential, and I had three terrible grades. Cs in Biology and English Language, as well as a shocking D in Chemistry – it’s hard to believe now, but I was not motivated to excel in the sciences. If I wanted to achieve my goals, I needed to step things up.

I took a year out in order to retake these three subjects at Ealing Independent College for the GCSE Intensive Year Programme. With the guidance and skill of the teachers at EIC, I began to ‘fall in love’ with the sciences.

Chemistry, the very subject that used to give me the most trouble, became my passion, and Dr Moores, Principal of the College, inspired me to push myself even harder. We made a deal – if I improved my grades (in Chemistry in particular) we could have a chat about attaining a scholarship in order to take my A Levels at EIC.

His encouragement worked. At the end of my ‘retakes’ year, I emerged with an A* in Chemistry and 2 more As in Biology and English Language. I then went on to achieve good grades in my first year of A Levels. I began to recognise that I had a particular love for organic Chemistry, and my teachers cheered me on and pushed me towards success.

When the time came to apply for university, Fleur, my GCSE English Language teacher, helped me to revise my personal statement multiple times in order to help me gain acceptance to my first choice – UCL. Within a few weeks, I received an offer from UCL without interview, and I accepted immediately.

I am now coming to the end of my third year at UCL, and I have been offered a highly competitive place to conduct my fourth year Masters research project at the University of North Carolina, the number one pharmacy school in America. I will spend three months there from October to December 2018 and then come back to UCL for the second semester to write up my dissertation. This is an incredible privilege, one that I never could have imagined back at my state school and before my time at EIC. I plan to continue my education to the PhD level, and see myself working for a global pharmaceutical powerhouse when my education is complete.

I will never forget Ealing Independent College for helping me to boost my grades, believe in myself and achieve my goals.

Whilst I used my own sheer determination and hard work to get where I am today, the support, teaching quality and atmosphere at EIC played a big role in helping me realise my own potential. Without EIC, I don’t know where I would be today.

I truly appreciate the stellar performance of the entire EIC faculty, but I want to extend a special thanks to Dr Moores. You inspired me, instilled confidence in me and helped me to accomplish everything I have been able to achieve to this point – and beyond. Thank you for everything.

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