University College London (UCL)
If you are thinking of getting a place in a decent university but not confident enough to apply for Oxbridge, this is a must read and you will not regret it!
Summary and Brief History
University College London (UCL) is a public research university based in Bloomsbury, London and is highly regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world, attracting thousands of local and international students every year to apply for a course at the institution. The main campus is a 3-minute walk from Euston Square Station, or 5 minutes from Warren Street and Euston Station respectively. It is established in 1826 as London University by one of the founders Jeremy Bentham.
Faculties and Departments
UCL is organised into 11 constituent facilities, within which there are over 100 departments, institutes and research centres. They also have an international programme for most courses, in which students (undergraduates) are granted a 4-year study at the institution; including a year abroad in the EU or outside EU in Year 3. Majority of the departments are located in Gower Street, Euston, including Engineering, Law, Languages, Psychology, Geography, English and Modern Languages. Recently UCL has introduced new courses such as Anthropology and Archaeology. The university has also grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Neurology in 1997, the Royal Free Hospital Medical School in 1998, the Eastman Dental Institute and School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 1999, the School of Pharmacy in 2012 and the Institute of Education in 2014.
UCL also boasts the world's largest academic health science centre, making it one of the top universities for people who plan on studying medicine, pharmacy, biological sciences or natural sciences in the UK aside from Oxford and Cambridge. They claim that graduates from UCL are much more likely to be employable by international employers.
Aside from having different departments and institutions in England, UCL has also expanded to different places in the world, including an affiliated sattelite campus in Doha, Qatar.
There are altogether approximately 35000 students at UCL in 2015/2016 and is increasing gradually year by year.
Student Life at UCL
Considering that UCL is located in Central London, there are many things that you can do to spend your 3 or 4 years in and around the institution. It is very convenient for students to get to the British Museum, Senate House Library, Chinatown or even Trafalgar Square, as they are within walking distance. UCL students are more casual compared to those at Oxford or Cambridge; there are no formal events (apart from graduation of course) and what's more, students are obliged to apply for a part-time job whilst studying to earn extra income and gain work experience!
There are little cafe stores in and around UCL, and at night students tend to hang out at Mully's Bar or Phineas for a pint or two. Alternatively students attend Sports Night every Wednesday where they go to specialised clubs and enjoy their night.
There is a UCL Union for students which operates both as the representative voice and as a provider of wide range of services. It is controlled through meetings and referendums, and is run by elected student officers. They are also in charge of student fairs at the beginning of term. It also supports a range of services, inclduing numerous clubs, societies and sport facilities. The annual summer ball is also run by the student union.
Students also spend their time studying at the main library in the Portico, or in their respective departmental libraries. They also make use of the British Library and the Senate House Library.
Accommodation at UCL
All first year undergraduates and overseas first-year postgraduates are guaranteed university accommodation at UCL. The majority of 2nd and 3rd years find their own accommodation in the private sector, or rent a house with other flatmates/classmates, should they be interested, even though places are very limited. UCL's student housing includes: Arthur Tattersall House, Astor College, Campbell House East, Campbell House West, Frances Gardner House, Langton Close, Goldsmid House, Ifor Evans & Max Rayne Student Residences, James Lighthill House, John Dodgson House, John Tovell House, Prankerd house, Ramsay Hall, Ian Baker House and Schafer House. All houses range from £130 per week to £250 per week. The student will have the option to choose (1) their desired accommodation, (2) single or shared room, (3) en-suite or non en-suite. Every year you will expect houses to be lively and full of freshers, so it is guaranteed that you won't be lonely unless you keep everything to yourself! Please note that these houses are only applicable to UCL students.
Alternatively if these houses don't live up to your expectations and you would like to meet some more international students, you can apply for places in the University of London intercollegiate halls which are shared by other universities in London apart from UCL. They include: Canterbury Hall, Commonwealth Hall, Conaght Hall, Hughes Perry Hall and International Hall. Their weekly rent varies and is subject to change every year, depending on the accommodation itself.
If UCL students are unable to apply for accommodation on time, they can choose to stay at private student residences such as Unite Students and iQ Student Accommodation, which can be found around London. The two nearest ones are in Bedford Way and St Pancras Way.
Admissions to UCL is highly selective. For undergraduate entry many courses require 3As at A-level, or a grade equivalent of 6,6,6 on higher level subjects on the International Baccalaureate Programme. Due to a very high proportion of applicants receiving the highest school grades, in 2010 UCL has made use of the A* grade at A-level for admissions to courses including Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Economics, Politics and Psychology.
Undergraduate law applicants are required to take the National Admissions Test for Law and undergraduate medical applicants are required to take the BioMedical Admissions Test. Applicants for European Social and Political Studies are required to take the Thinking Skills Assessments should they bes elected for an assessment days. Some UCL departments interview undergraduate applicants prior to making an offer of admission. Most departments would request students to complete a 'questionnaire' consisting of a few questions with regards to the course.
There are also intensive one-year foundation courses that lead to a variety of degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
Here are some of the familiar names you might have heard in your history or science books...
1. Mahatma Ghandi - Leader of Indian Independence Movement
2. Alexander Graham Bell - Pioneer of the Telephone
3. Francis Crick - co-discoverer of the DNA
4. Lucien Freud - artist
5. Charles Kao - founder of the Broadband Network
6. Joseph Lister - founder of Listerine
7. Gustav Holst - musician
8. William Ramsay - founder of noble gases including krypton, neon etc.
9. Several head of organisations and states and international organisations
If you need more assistance in applying for a place at UCL, contact us now and we will be happy to help!