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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs
Eligibility FAQs
APP Employer Insight Programme FAQs
Teacher FAQs

General FAQs

1. What’s the difference between the APP City, APP Residential and APP Reach?

  • Our aim is to provide the same support, information and guidance across the APP. Once you are accepted onto our programme this support will continue after you finish school, and throughout university until you graduate and enter employment. The key difference is based on where you live and where the programme is delivered.
  • APP City: Skills sessions and activities are offered throughout the year in the student’s home city. Whilst not all students are guaranteed a work placement, as this is dependent on the student’s level of engagement with APP City activities. students are able to access support in a wider array of career sectors as well as have more face-to-face contact with our dedicated APP team.
  • APP Residential: A guaranteed group work placement in London or Middlesbrough in the specific sector selected. This takes place in the summer holidays, students stay in accommodation organised by the SMF and are provided with skills sessions and activities in the evenings of the placement. Students are supervised throughout the experience by our trained staff.
  • APP Reach: Students who live more than an hour from an APP City can make use of online resources and video tutorials to develop key skills and career knowledge, university application support, and are matched with a mentor from their chosen profession.

2. How important is the application form?

  • Your application is very important.
  • We have a structured marking scheme which we use to assess your answers and we also send your essay responses to the participating firms to read. Please check your spelling, punctuation and grammar before you submit your application to ensure that you represent yourself in the best possible way.

3. Is the programme free?

  • Yes, the programme is completely free of charge.
  • For students on APP City, inner city travel costs to work placements will be covered by the Social Mobility Foundation.
  • For students on APP Residential, the Social Mobility Foundation will arrange and pay for all travel to, from and within London or Middlesbrough. Food and evening activities will be provided for all students and each student will get a daily subsistence allowance.

4. I don’t meet the eligibility criteria, can I still apply?

  • We review each application on a case-by-case basis and take extenuating circumstances into account.
  • There is a dedicated space in our application form for you to tell us any extenuating circumstances. What you tell us will be treated in confidence. Please ensure that you get your teacher referee to confirm these circumstances in the reference they write for you too.

Eligibility FAQs

1. How do I know if I am eligible for the programme?

Please check our Academic and Social eligibility criteria here.

2. I attend/attended a private school, but receive/received a scholarship or bursary, can I still apply?

  • No, unfortunately we do not accept applications from students who are attending or previously attended fee paying schools – even if you receive/received a bursary or assistance with costs.

3. Can I apply to the programme if I’m in Year 13 (England & Wales), Year 14 (Northern Ireland), or S6 (Scotland)?

  • No, our programme caters for students in their first year of sixth form/college or in S5, so unfortunately we cannot accept applications from students in their second year of sixth form/college or S6. Once you are on the programme, support will continue until you graduate from university and you will then join the alumni network.

4. My household income is less than £16,190 in England/Wales/Northern Ireland or £16,105 in Scotland, but I have never received Free School Meals. Can I still apply?

  • Yes, we will accept your application if you do not receive Free School Meals, but your household income falls below the amount stated above. Having a household income below that amount means that you are eligible to receive Free School Meals, and it is not relevant to our application process whether you have ever claimed them. However, we will need confirmation from your school or college that you would be eligible.

5. What do you mean by ‘first generation’ in your family to attend university in the UK?

  • If your parents haven’t completed an undergraduate degree in the UK, and you are in the first generation in your family wanting to go to university, then you are classed as ‘first generation’.  Siblings who have attended university are not taken into account. If your parents completed university as mature students, or completed a degree abroad then this is also not taken into account as we believe the student may still lack knowledge of the UK education system and application process from school or college.
  • For example, if a students’ parents did not attend university, and their older brother/sister who is 3 years older went to university, then they are still eligible to apply if they meet the other criteria.

6. How can I check the percentage of students eligible for Free School Meals at my school/college?

  • First check for your school’s eligibility criteria on the relevant list on here. If you cannot find it then please follow the instructions below:
  • In England: You can look up your school by name here. Click the name and the page will open displaying the details tab, scroll down to ‘Percentage of children eligible for free school meals.’
  • In Northern Ireland: The FSM percentage of state funded schools in Northern Ireland is contained on a government dataset which you can access here.
  • In Scotland: The FSM percentage of state funded schools in Scotland is contained on a government dataset which you can access here.
  • In Wales: You can look up your school by name here. Click the name to open and the percentage appears in a summary box underneath the map.

7. I believe my school/college’s eligibility criteria is incorrect. 

  • If you believe the eligibility criteria we have set for students at your school/college is incorrect, or should be altered, please contact the Social Mobility Foundation via telephone on 0207 183 1189 between 9am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday to let us know. We base our eligibility criteria on number of factors but are happy to discuss this with a relevant teacher.

8. I am studying a mixture of qualifications, such as BTEC subjects and other A-Levels, or Highers and Advanced Highers, or equivalents. Can I still apply?

  • Yes, we look at all applications individually, and we do accept applications from students who study a mixture of qualifications providing they meet our other eligibility criteria.
  • In certain sectors you may have to meet additional subject requirements, you can read these here.

9. My school/college only offers vocational subjects such as BTEC subjects or A-Level/Advanced Higher equivalents, can I still apply?

  • Yes, we look at all applications individually, and we do accept applications from students who study a mixture of qualifications providing they meet our other eligibility criteria.
  • In certain sectors you may have to meet additional subject requirements, you can read these here.

10. I did not achieve 5 A/7 grades at GCSE or 5 A/B grades National 5 but I think I’ll get ABB at A level/ABBB at Higher, can I still apply?

  • If you have 4 A/7 grades at GCSE or 4 A/B grades at National 5 and attend a school on SMF List A then you may be eligible for the programme.
  • In addition, we understand that something may have happened to disrupt your education, or you may not have reached your potential during your exams. Please ask your teacher to tell us if this has been the case in the teacher reference.

11. I am a refugee/child in care and only have 3-4 GCSEs/National 5s, can I still apply?

  • You should still apply, we look at all applications individually. Please ask your teacher to explain this in the teacher reference and we will take this into consideration.


1. What does APP City offer?

  • Successful applicants are provided with a programme of mentoring, skills development, tailored university visits and university application support including guidance on personal statements, interviews and aptitude tests. We also offer students the opportunity to complete an internship at over 200 of the most prestigious employers in the UK. This support does not stop when you finish school, but continues throughout university and until you enter into graduate employment.
  • We have 11 career sectors: Accountancy, Architecture, Banking & Finance, Biology & Chemistry, Business, Digital, Engineering & Physics, Law, Media & Communications, Medicine, and Politics. We also have a No Preference strand for those students who do not yet know what they want to do.

2. Will I be able to change my sector preference when I am on the programme?

  • It depends. If you are still in school or college this is dependent on the career sector, and how early you inform SMF staff about this change. It may be difficult for students to switch into large sectors such as Medicine, and Biology & Chemistry. We understand that you may choose to change your sector preference if your career goals change, however we advise that this is done early in your first year on the programme.
  • If you are at university and you wish to change sectors this may be easier to do and you can email us at, stating your details and which sector you would like to change to.

3. I live an hour away from one of the APP cities, can I still apply?

  • Students who live within a one-hour commute, using public transport, to the centre of one of the following APP cities: Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London, and Manchester, or 90 minutes to the centre of Cardiff, Glasgow or Newcastle, can apply to our programme.

APP Employer Insight Programme FAQs

1. What does an APP Employer Insight Programme offer?

  • Successful applicants are provided with an insight programme where they gain experience in the sector that they want to get into in the future. The programmes are typically organised for the school summer holidays with practical work experience each weekday.
  • During the evenings, students will undertake skills sessions to improve their confidence and networking skills, learn how to submit a strong UCAS application and attend exciting evening events.
  • Students will also be matched with a mentor who they will communicate with over email to help prepare them for the experience. Students are able to continue this communication once they are back at school or college to provide support completing their UCAS form and final exams.

2. Can I apply to APP City and an APP Employer Insight Programme?

  • If you are applying to an APP Employer Insight Programme and you also live in an APP City, yes.
  • APP Employer Insight Programme have a limited number of places therefore your application will be considered against applicants from across the UK. If you apply and you unsuccessful, but you live in an APP City, we will automatically consider you for APP City.
  • Please note APP City does not have a limited number of places and we aim to support all those who meet our criteria and who submit a strong application.

3. Can I apply to more than one an APP Employer Insight Programme?

  • No. They may take place at the same time, and as we need students to be committed to the sector they are interested in, we only allow students to apply to one Insight.

4. How do students get to London or Middlesbrough?

  • Students travel from their home town to London or Middlesbrough independently. If there are students travelling from the same train station, we will put them in touch with one another so they can get to know each other before the internship starts on their journey to London.
  • All travel costs to London will be organised and paid for by the SMF.

5. Who supervises students?

  • When students arrive at the designated station in London or Middlesbrough, they are met by a Group Leader who will take them to the accommodation.
  • Throughout the internship, these Group Leaders will take them to and from their place of work and supervise them during the evening activities as well as in the accommodation.
  • All our Group Leaders have experience in working with young people and all the Supervisors who are also living onsite are first aid trained.
  • At their place of work, students will have a designated supervisor to help them with their tasks and to be on-hand throughout their working day.

6. Where do students stay?

  • Students stay in university halls, so they can experience what it will be like at university. All students will stay in single rooms, which will either have a shared (between 2) or ensuite bathroom.
  • Floors will be divided between males and females. A Group Leader will be staying on each floor and be on call 24/7.

7. What happens at the weekend?

  • If the placement goes over a weekend, the weekend will include a university visit and leisure activities such as a trip to the theatre. There will also be time for the students to relax and reflect on their placement.

8. When will the residential take place?

  • Dates vary by residential each year, however they take place in the summer months, typically late July to early August. We will let all participants know the dates when they have been confirmed.

Teacher FAQs

1. It is too early to give official predicted grades – what should I predict/can my students apply?

  • We understand that many teachers may have only known the students for a few months, but is important for us to know that we are supporting young people who have the potential to enter the professions we target. Therefore, please use what you know about their current and prior performance to predict what you think the student would be capable of achieving by the time they leave school/college.

2. The student did not achieve 5 A/7 grades at GCSE/ 5 A/B National 5 but I think they’ll get ABB at A level/ABBB at Higher, can they still apply?

  • If the student has achieved 4 A/7 grades at GCSE/4 A/B grades at National 5 and attends a school where 50% or less students achieved 5 A*-C/9-4 grades in the previous year they may still be eligible for the programme.
  • In addition, we understand students may have had something happen to disrupt their education, or they may have not reached their potential during GCSEs. Please tell us if this has been the case in the teacher reference.

3. I am a teacher and I haven’t received an email asking me to complete a teacher reference.

  • There are two possible reasons for this, either your student hasn’t completed the application form or they have input your email address incorrectly. Please check with them first.
  • If the problem persists please email us stating the name of the student.  We will check their application form and provide you with a unique link that will enable you to complete the teacher reference.
  • If the student is applying for APP City or APP Reach please email
  • If the student is applying for an APP Residential please email
  • If your question has not been covered, you can also contact one of our Aspiring Professionals Programme Coordinators between 9am – 5.30pm, Monday to Friday on 0207 183 1189.

Contact us