Access and Widening Participation


UCL Scholars

UCL Scholars is a free online literacy skills programme for Year 9 pupils from across the UK, delivered by UCL in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

The UCL Access and Widening Participation Office is delighted to announce that we are now accepting applications to UCL Scholars 2021-22,  a free literacy skills programme open to Year 9 students, delivered in partnership with the National Literacy Trust

Apply for Scholars 2021-22

What is the Scholars programme?

UCL Scholars runs from February 2022 to July 2022, and is a free programme with live, online events during the school holidays and weekly, online mentoring with current UCL students.

You will develop your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills by working through a variety of curriculum-based activities expertly designed by the National Literacy Trust. You will put these skills to use in your final assignment, when you will create a speech on a topic of your choosing.

At the end of the programme, there will be a celebration event to celebrate your achievements. You will find out whether you have received a gold, silver or bronze award based on your engagement and participation with UCL Scholars.

Why take part in Scholars?

Some of the key benefits of taking part in Scholars include:

  • Improved literacy skills and confidence;
  • Increased knowledge of university, and the steps you need to take in order to get there;
  • Opportunities to interact with current UCL students as well as young people your own age from across the country;
  • The chance to receive an award in recognition of your engagement on the programme.
Our mentors gave very useful advice and scenarios that were relatable to us. The other teachers and staff also helped because I asked a lot of questions and they were still willing to answer when they could. - former Scholars participant 

How and when will Scholars take place?

Scholars will take place online. There will be a live online launch event, followed by three phases of live online events (Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening) each taking place during the school holidays*. Each phase will run over two days, with each day being approximately three hours long (including breaks). The dates of the programme are:

  • Launch event: evening of Wednesday 2nd February
  • Reading: Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th February
  • Writing: Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th April
  • Speaking & Listening: Tuesday 31st May and Wednesday 1st June
  • Summer celebration event (date TBC)

The mentoring aspect of Scholars will take place on a weekly basis alongside the live events on the Brightside online mentoring platform.

You must be able to commit to attend all aspects of this programme in order to be considered for a place.

*Please note, due to differences in term dates, some pupils may be in school when a live event is scheduled to take place. In these cases we will provide resource packs to the affected pupils so that they can catch up on the missed activities in their own time.  The dates for the events were chosen because they are in the school holidays for the majority of young people.

    Who can take part?

    In order to be eligible to apply, you must be:

    • Currently in Year 9
    • Attending a UK state school
    • Currently achieving a Grade 5 in the majority of your subjects, including English and Maths (we will ask your teacher to confirm this)

    As we often have more applications than there are places available, we use shortlisting criteria to prioritise young people from groups that are underrepresented at UCL. You can find more information about this on our Who we work with webpage.

    As the Scholars programme will be run entirely online we welcome applications from across the UK.

    How to apply

    If you meet all of the entry requirements and would like to apply for a place on the Scholars programme, please complete the application form below. Please do so with a parent/carer nearby as they will need to complete some sections of the application form.

    In the application form you will also be asked to provide the contact details of a teacher at your school so that we can contact them for a reference. Please make sure you have spoken to your teacher about this.

    Application Deadline

    Applications for the Scholars programme will close at 10am on Monday 6th December 2021 and we will not be able to consider applications received after this time. We will contact you by the middle of January to inform you on the outcome of your application.

    Apply for Scholars 2021-22

    Contact us

    If you have any questions about the Scholars programme or application process, please get in touch by sending an email to scholars@ucl.ac.uk.