Access and Widening Participation


Year 12 Summer Challenge

Due to the spread of Covid-19 Summer Challenge is running remotely this year. The courses are running at different times over the summer and all applicants have now been contacted.

There are a number of courses offered in a diverse range of STEM and Humanities subjects. Each five week course is taught online by UCL academics and PhD students. Summer Challenge encourages critical thinking and debate, and develops valuable skills for A level and university study.

Summer Challenge Online 2020

This year Summer Challenge is running online with weekly posts, videos for you to watch and tasks for you to do.

In addition to this, each course will have a number of live sessions throughout the course, during which you will have the opportunity to speak to the Academic or PhD student who is running the course. If you have been successful and have a place on Summer Challenge Online 2020 you will have been sent the dates and schedule for the course you have a place on.  

These are the subjects on offer for 2020:

 MathsMedicineNatural Sciences
Philosophy, Politics and EconomicsPolitical ScienceScience and Technology Studies 


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Summer Challenge?
You have to be in Year 12 and attend a UK state school to take part in Summer Challenge. Due to our funding, we unfortunately cannot make any exceptions for students who are at a private school on a scholarship. 

You'll need to meet the academic criteria for the course you're applying for (listed on each course page). We prioritise students who meet more of our eligibility criteria.

Can I apply as a mature student?
As our activities are for Year 12 students only, we are unable to include anyone who is not currently in Year 12. However, if you are interested in taking part in our shadowing scheme for mature students click here for more information.

What is Summer Challenge?
Summer Challenge is a five-week course which is designed to be like a mini-module at university. We hope it gets you used to participating in seminars, using critical thinking and analytical skills, engaging in debates and discussions and sharing opinions in a group. You'll learn more about what it's like to study your chosen subject at university and you should hear about your tutor's experiences through higher education.  Some subjects might also involve a piece of academic writing or other tasks.

Can I do more than one Summer Challenge?
As we have a limited number of place you can only apply for, and take part in, one subject. There's nothing to stop you applying to our other activities though!

Can my friend take part?
Only people who have applied through our system and have been offered a place can take part in Summer Challenge. Most students make friends with the people on their course pretty quickly!

Is Summer Challenge just like school?
It's designed to be a reflection of university, so there's a bit more free-thinking, discussion, and independent learning involved in your sessions. Some of the topics covered might feature sensitive or controversial content, but we expect you to be respectful to your tutor and others on the course when hearing opinions and taking part in discussions. In short, there are some similarities, but it is a bit different from a school classroom environment. As we are running it online this year it will be a little different to the usual Summer Challenge. However it will be similar to how students at university are currently learning whilst universities are closed.

Can I write about Summer Challenge in my personal statement?
Absolutely! Your tutor can give you some general admissions and personal statement information too. 

Does it cost anything?
No! Summer Challenge is completely free for you to attend. There's no catch, we just ask you to take part in each session, show enthusiasm, ask questions, and enjoy yourself.

My question hasn't been answered here. What do I do?
Email wp.taster@ucl.ac.uk with your query, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.