Who Can Apply?

UCL Horizons has selective entrance.

We only work with a limited number of schools, and we are looking for specific criteria in students' applications. No student is guaranteed a place on any UCL Horizons programme: they must meet our selection criteria.

Which schools can apply?

We recruit from a targeted list of London non-selective state schools with a high proportion of students on free school meals (35% or more).

We contact these schools directly to invite applications.

Applications that we will not consider

We will not consider applications from schools that are not on our target list.
Independent schools, selective state schools, and schools with a low proportion of students on free school meals are not eligible. Nor are schools outside London.

We will not consider applications sent by individual students without a teacher reference.

All applications must come via a contact teacher in a target school. 

How do we select students?

Once all applications are received, we consider students' academic and demographic criteria to make our selection.

All criteria are considered holistically. A student won't automatically be rejected just because they do not meet one of the academic or demographic criteria (these are listed below). However, students that are selected will usually meet most or all of the criteria.

No school is 'guaranteed' a set number of places on any UCL Horizons programme, but we do try to offer at least one place to every school that sends in applications.

Academic Selection Criteria

We want to recruit intelligent students who will have the potential to apply to UCL or similarly competitive universities in the future.

We consider a combination of these selection criteria, depending on which UCL Horizons programme the student is applying for:

  • the quality of the student’s personal statement;
  • comments in the teacher reference about academic abilities;
  • whether the student is on the Gifted and Talented register;
  • Key Stage 3 achievement in English Maths and Science;
  • predicted or achieved GCSE grades (we look for a minimum of 5 A* - C grades at GCSE);
  • predicted or achieved AS and A level grades (for our Year 12 and 13 programmes, students must be predicted to achieve the UCL minimum offer of ABB, or higher).

Please read the application notes for each specific programme to get more detailed guidance on academic requirements.

Demographic Selection Criteria

We give places to students who meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • students with no family history of higher education (neither parent has been to university);
  • students who are eligible for free school meals;
  • students whose parents are unemployed or have lower income / non-professional jobs;
  • Students who live in neighbourhoods with a lower than average rate of participation in higher education;
  • students in local authority care.

If none of the above criteria apply to you, then please do not apply to UCL Horizons.

Recruitment Dates

Recruitment processes for our long-term programmes are detailed below (this doesn't include one-off sessions and work experience).

Click on the links for each programme to download application packs and get more information.





Year 10 Saturday School
21 sessions from November to June
100 Application packs sent to a selected list of target schools in first week of September.
Application deadline mid October.
Decisions sent out in the week before October half term.
Year 10 Summer School
Four days in late July
70 Places are initially offered to Saturday School students, but we offer some additional places to new applicants.
We contact our target schools directly in late Spring to recruit for these new places.
Year 11 Autumn programme
Five Saturdays in September and October
100 Places are initially offered to Saturday and Summer School students, but we offer some additional places to new applicants.
We contact our target schools directly in June / July to recruit for these new places.
Year 12 Summer Challenge
Six sessions in June and July
80 - 100
Any Year 12 attending a London non-selective state school can apply for Summer Challenge, if they meet our academic and demographic selection criteria.
Application packs are put on the website in March. Enrolment is then confirmed in April / May.

I'm not eligible for UCL Horizons - what can I do instead?

There are lots of other opportunities for prospective students to explore UCL.

You can print off a self guided tour and visit the UCL campus on week days.
You can book a guided tour led by UCL students (these must be booked in advance).
You can attend the UCL annual Open Day - next date Thursday, 27 June 2013.

UCL academics give Lunch Hour Lectures for the general public throughout the year on a wide range of subjects. They are free and don’t need to be booked in advance. They can also be viewed online. 

UCL runs many other events, festivals and seminars that are open to the public throughout the year - have a look at our Events calendar.

UCL has several interesting museum collections which are open to the general public.

Teachers can arrange a class visit to UCL with tours, taster lectures and student life presentations. UCL staff and students can also visit schools to give presentations about higher education.

  • For school visits to UCL contact Lucie March
  • To arrange for UCL staff or students to visit your school, contact Caroline Fionda