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What do we expect from prospective applicants? 
There is no typical UWC candidate - we accept applications from a wide range of candidates. We do not expect you to have lived abroad or speak many languages! Most applicants have evidence of extra-curricular engagement in both academic subjects and activities (sports, volunteering, or creative pursuits). However, we understand that all applicants have had different opportunities in their lives. We only care about whether you have made the most out of your opportunities. As long as you are committed to working towards a better world, we would love to hear from you, no matter what you have achieved in your life so far. Potential and motivation are the most important attributes we look for.


What criteria do you use to mark applicants?

We have three main criteria which we use:

  • Your personal attributes. Are you resilient and adventurous? Are you caring and thoughtful? Do you cope well with challenges? Your personality will tell us a lot about whether or not you will fit in at a UWC and enjoy the experience. 
  • Your intellectual ability and curiosity. We don't expect everyone to be perfect score students all we want is that you are motivated and hard-working enough to keep up with the challenges of the IB (the academic programme offered by UWCs) - and that you are excited by learning. 
  • Your commitment to UWC ideals. You don't need to have volunteered in the Himalayas, but we love to see some community engagement or leadership! You should have a clear sense of justice and a yearning to make the world a fairer and more peaceful place. 


What role do teachers and parents play in the application? 
In the application form we ask for two references. These are very important aspects of the process. 

  • For your activity reference you should ask someone who has a lot of experience of working with you in a non-academic setting (someone who is not a family member or a school teacher) who can tell us about you - for example, a scouting or guiding leader, a volunteer supervisor, or a leader in extra-curricular activities. 
  • The academic reference is for a teacher who knows you well and who is in a good position to talk about your interests and competencies in school. Make sure to choose someone who supports the idea of you going to a UWC. There is also a section in the academic reference that allows the academic referee to fill out your predicted/achieved grades. 

You will need to ask your chosen referees for their email address and input this into your online application. We won't contact your referees for references until we have invited candidates to the assessment week, and at that point we will send an information email to them outlining what we will ask of them. The referees will be provided with some guidance questions and shouldn't write more than one page.

Parents are also encouraged to read through your application before it is submitted and sign the declaration to say they understand the selection and funding process and support your application. Unfortunately we cannot accept applications which are not supported by parents or guardians. 


Can I get help to fill out my application form? 
It is usually a good idea to write out your answers before you fill in the form properly, and often it helps to get someone else to have a look over your form before you send it in. But remember, we’re interested in you, so it’s important for you to give us all the information we need in your own words!


If I don’t get accepted can I reapply next year? 
Absolutely! But remember that there is an age limit on applicants – UWCs are essentially sixth form colleges and our students are aged 16 or 17 when they start. We cannot consider application forms from individuals who are in their final year of A-levels/Highers. 


Can I do my second year of sixth form at a UWC if I have already started my A-Levels? 
You can start at a UWC after completing your first year of sixth form as long as you will be 17 or younger when you begin. Indeed, many students find it helpful to have AS-levels before starting the International Baccalaureate diploma programme! However, all students at UWC must stay for two years, and it is not possible to stay for only one year. Even if you have studied one year of the IB elsewhere, you will still have to begin it again at a UWC.

Similarly, it is not possible to split the two years between two different UWCs


If you have any questions that are not answered in the FAQs, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the National Committee by emailing