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 Levelling Up is an eighteen-month online programme designed to support you with your science A-levels and prepare you for the transition to university.

About Levelling Up


Levelling Up is an eighteen-month academic and pastoral support programme that targets Year 12 students who intend to study Chemistry or Physics at university.

Through a range of online academic tutorials, mentoring sessions and additional activities hosted by Imperial College London or other participating universities and partners, Levelling Up aims to support you with your A-level studies and ensure that you are as prepared as possible for the next step in your educational journey.

Through this programme you will:

  • Develop the skills you need to achieve a top grade in A-level Physics or Chemistry;
  • Build your confidence when applying to research intensive universities like Imperial College London, which require an A/A* in your chosen subject;
  • Gain an insight into undergraduate level study, and what it is like to be a Physics or Chemistry student at Imperial College London.

What to expect on the programme


For 2022 entry, we will be running two strands: a Physics strand and a Chemistry strand.

You may only apply for one strand.

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Levelling Up: Physics

Levelling Up: Physics is run in collaboration with the Institute of Physics. There are three main aspects of the programme:

  • Specialised tutoring and support designed to stretch your knowledge and challenge you in Physics;
  • Mentoring from current students to support you in your transition into higher education, enabling you to build on your current skills and tailor these to undergraduate level study;
  • Familiarising yourself with Imperial College London and higher education more generally, encouraging you to become a part of the College community.

The programme is structured in a three week cycle:

Week 1: You are assigned a particular topic, problem or activity to work through on your own, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the course syllabus and identify any areas that you may need additional support or tutoring in.
Week 2: You attend an hour-long online tutorial with your Programme Tutor who will work through the self-study material with you, explaining the topic, problem or activity from Week 1. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance on the subject given the small size of the tutorial groups.
Week 3: You meet with your mentor group online to discuss different aspects of the university application and experience, for example personal statements, student finance or moving away from home.

There will be approximately 10 – 12 three week cycles over the course of the programme.

Levelling Up: Chemistry

There are three main aspects of the Levelling Up: Chemistry programme:

  • Specialised tutoring and support designed to stretch your knowledge and challenge you in Chemistry;
  • Mentoring from current students to support you in your transition into higher education, enabling you to build on your current skills and tailor these to undergraduate level study;
  • Familiarising yourself with Imperial College London and higher education more generally, encouraging you to become a part of the College community.

The programme is structured in a three week cycle:

Week 1: You are assigned a particular topic, problem or activity to work through on your own, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the course syllabus and identify any areas that you may need additional support or tutoring in.
Week 2: You attend an hour-long online tutorial with your Programme Tutor – a Chemistry postgraduate or staff member – who will work through the self-study material with you, explaining the topic, problem or activity from Week 1. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance on the subject given the small size of the tutorial groups.
Week 3: You meet with your mentor group online to discuss different aspects of the university application and experience, for example personal statements, student finance or moving away from home. This gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with university life and speak to students who have made the transition from A-levels.

There will be approximately 10  12 three week cycles over the course of the programme.

Applicant information

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Eligibility criteria

To apply for Levelling Up, you must be:

  • In Year 12 at the time of application;
  • Attending a state-funded, non fee-paying school or college.

This outreach programme aims to support state school students from backgrounds under-represented at university and Imperial. We use the criteria below to assess who is eligible to participate. The more criteria you meet, the more likely your application will be successful.

We recommend that you use our eligibility checker tool to see if you are eligible to apply.

We will prioritise your application if:

  • You have been in care;
  • You live independently (estranged), meaning you no longer have the support of your family due to a breakdown in the relationship which has led to ceased contact.

We will give preference to your application if:

  • You do not live near London

We will also assess whether:

  • You are a young carer and have caring responsibilities for a close relative with a disability, long-term illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem that is a significant demand on your time;
  • Your family income is below £50,000 each year;
  • You are eligible for free school meals and/or pupil premium;
  • Your parents/guardians did not attend university;
  • You live in a neighbourhood with low overall progression rates to higher education (POLAR4 Quintile 1 or 2 areas) or high levels of deprivation (IMD Quintile 1 areas);
  • Your school has a high percentage of students receiving free school meals;
  • Your school has below average attainment.

Academic requirements

To be considered for this programme, you must:

  • Be studying Maths (compulsory) and either Physics (for the Physics strand) or Chemistry (for the Chemistry strand) at A-level;
  • Expect to study a science, technology, engineering or maths subject at university;
  • have achieved a minimum of eight GCSEs with at least five at grades 7-9, including maths and sciences;
  • have achieved a minimum of a grade 5 in GCSE English Language.

How to apply

Applications will open on Monday 18 October 2021.

Applications will close on Tuesday 30 November 2021 at 12 noon.

Applications are made through Aspire (our online application system). You must create an account with Aspire before you can fill out your application.

We recommend you use a personal email address, as opposed to a school email address, when creating an Aspire account. Security settings used in some school email servers will prevent you from receiving emails from Aspire.

As part of your application, you will be asked to provide details for a parent/guardian and a teacher. Both your parent/guardian and your teacher will be contacted to provide a supporting reference and verify some of the information you provide.

We will ask for the subjects you are currently studying. If you do not have predicted grades for your current subjects you can type NPG or N/A in the grade field.

For more information about applying, please see our Outreach FAQs. Unfortunately, we cannot accept late applications.

Contact us

For more information, please see our Outreach Programme FAQs or email the Levelling Up team.