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.

Applications for UCL Scholars are now open! See below for details.

Click here to apply to UCL Scholars. Deadline: 10am on Thursday 24 November

What is the Scholars programme?

UCL Scholars runs from February 2023 to July 2023 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 an online event to celebrate your achievements. You will find out whether you have received a gold, silver or bronze award based on your participation in 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 - former Scholars participant 

How and when will Scholars take place?

Scholars will take place online. There will be an online launch event and three phases of literacy-focused online events each taking place during the school holidays*, followed by an online celebration event at the end of the programme. Each phase of the literacy-focused events will run over two days with each day being approximately three hours long (including breaks). The dates of these events are: 

  • Reading: Wednesday 15 February & Thursday 16 February
  • Writing: Tuesday 4 April & Wednesday 5 April
  • Speaking and listening: Wednesday 31 May & Thursday 1 June 

The launch event and celebration event will take place in the evening and will be approximately one hour or one hour and thirty minutes long. The dates of these events are: 

  • Launch Event: Wednesday 1 February 
  • Celebration event: Tuesday 27 June

Between each set of live, online events, the mentoring aspect of Scholars will take place weekly on the Brightside online mentoring platform.

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

*Please note, due to differences in term dates, some pupils may not be on school holidays when our live events are 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 fall within 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 English and Maths (we will ask your teacher to confirm this**).

    Participants for this programme will be selected using the shortlisting criteria found on the Who we work with webpage to prioritise young people from the least represented groups. You will be awarded points based on the number of criteria that you meet. As part of our evaluation of the programme, applicants with the highest points will be randomised into a participant group that will be offered a place, and a non-participant group that will not be offered a place. You can contact the Data and Impact team if you have any questions about this process (wp-data@ucl.ac.uk)

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

    **Please note, you will be asked to provide the contact details of a teacher at your school and we will ask them to confirm that you meet the entry requirements.

    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.
    Click here to apply to UCL Scholars. Deadline: 10am on Thursday 24 November

    Application Deadline

    Applications for UCL Scholars 2022-23 will close at 10am on Thursday 24 November 2022. Applications submitted after this time will not be considered.  An application is only considered complete once the teacher reference is received. Without the reference, we will be unable to consider your application.  

    We will let you know if your application has been successful by mid-January. 

    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.