On April 22 – 23, 2015 the University of Dammam hosted the first ever National Conference for the Preparatory Year, where 24 scholars from across the Kingdom gave presentations and over 600 educational experts from 24 different Saudi universities attended. The President of UoD, Dr. Abdullah M. Al Rubaish gave the opening remarks for the conference and stated that, “The preparatory year plays a crucial part in a student's university life, since it helps make the transition from high school to university easier.  While a university gives the students more flexibility compared to a high school, it also makes more demands on the students and places greater responsibilities on them, which can be a difficult transition to make.  The preparatory year addresses these issues and enables the students to succeed in this new environment, giving them the skills to adjust and flourish in this challenging educational system with its unique atmosphere and methods of evaluation.  The importance of the preparatory year to institutions of higher education is significant; it not only fills the gap between high school and university, but it makes the transition easier for the students and they become adjusted touniversity life.” 

Dr. Al Rubaish also noted that, “The benefits of preparatory year programs cannot be ignored, for instance it has been demonstrated that these types of programs significantly reduce the number of years it takes to earn a degree. Although in the media, including newspapers and television, the preparatory year is consistently a topic for debate, where subjective personal accounts make up most of the dialog on this subject, seemingly ignoring the facts and scientific, objective research that has been done.  As a consequence, these unfounded emotional accounts tend to influence decision makers, and this in turn is affecting preparatory year programs.  One of the outcomes for this Conference is for the experts to clarify, explain and give recommendations based on clear, objective methods and scientific research that will accurately inform the decision-makers regarding the importance of the preparatory year and will ultimately build on its strengths and improve any areas of weakness.”