You only need one reference for your UCAS application.

It’s usually written for you by a teacher or tutor who knows you – if you’re applying through a school, college or centre registered with UCAS, they’ll do this before they send your completed application to UCAS; you won’t need to do anything for it.

See below for more information about choosing a reference if you’re applying independently.

What the reference is for

We really value the information provided by your referee as it helps us to gain additional context around your application, in particular about:

  • your school
  • your learning environment
  • the grades you are predicted to achieve

For example, the reference is an opportunity for your referee to tell us about things, such as:

  • mitigating factors that may have impacted or disrupted your studies or exams, and/or whether these have also been considered/factored by the awarding body of your qualifications in determining your grades.
  • specific support needs or adjustments that are currently in place for you, or that should be considered by us to help you thrive and succeed at Imperial.
  • predicted grades for qualifications you’re currently studying which cannot be included elsewhere on your UCAS application.
  • why and how you are best suited to the course that you have chosen to apply for, your successes and achievements (academic, extra-curricular, work or community based)
  • your academic potential

How the reference is structured

The reference has three different sections, which your referee can use to provide more information to support your application:

  1. A general statement about your school/college/centre.
  2. Any extenuating circumstances, which may have impacted your education and achievement.
  3. Any other supportive information specific to you and relevant to the course(s) you have applied for that you think universities/colleges should be aware of.

Section 1 is compulsory; sections 2 and 3 are optional.

We strongly encourage referees to make best use of all available sections to support your application.

How we’ll use the reference

Our Academic Tutors will consider your reference as part of their review of your application, as it helps build further understanding of you as an applicant in the context of your individual educational journey to date. It may also help inform discussion points for interview where applicable. 

You won’t have access to your reference, it will also be treated in confidence during the process. 

Choosing a referee

How to select a referee will depend on whether you are applying via a registered UCAS centre/school or independently.

You can find more guidance on choosing a referee on the UCAS website.

Guidance for referees

If you been asked to be a referee, see our guidance for referees for advice on how to provide a reference and what to include.

You can also refer to the guidance from UCAS.