MORE Filipino high school students from the Middle East are taking the University of Santo Tomas Entrance Test (Ustet) underscoring the University’s “good public image” among Filipinos outside the country, the director of the Office for Admissions (OFAD) said.

UST began administering entrance exams abroad in 2004, and since then the number of examinees and testing centers have increased significantly, said OFAD Director Mecheline Zonia Manalastas.

In 2004, there were a total of 192 applicants from four testing centers, two in Saudi Arabia and the rest in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This academic year, the University had nine international testing centers in six countries in the Middle East: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE, attracting a total of 474 applicants.

Aside from UST, the University of the Philippines (UP) and the De La Salle University Dasmariñas campus administer entrance exams in the Middle East.

“It is very seldom that the (Filipino students abroad) do not choose UST. In fact, if they took a test in UP, they would also take the Ustet. Most of UP examinees are also our examinees,” Manalastas said.

The College of Nursing and Faculty of Engineering got the most number of applicants last 2007. Out of the 406 examinees last year, 103 applied in the College of Nursing and 96 in the Faculty of Engineering.

“A number of Filipino parents abroad opt to send their children here in our University. It only shows that we are giving quality education and that they believe in Thomasian education,” Manalastas said.

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UST’s international testing centers were launched in 2004 so that Filipino students abroad could take the Ustet without going to the country.

The testing centers are hosted by Philippine schools in the Middle East who requested the University to hold entrance exams in their campuses.

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