UCL Direct Enrollment Program in London with API: Review

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Continuing with my reviews of London study abroad programs, I’ve put together a post on my time with API on their UCL Direct Enrollment programI hope this UCL Direct Enrollment Program review helps you out if you’re considering it!

API is a study abroad program provider whose London programs are run out of existing universities.

For most programs, you will be a student at a UK university with the support of API staff if you should need it. They’ll also run events exclusively for API students.

Hey, sidenote! If you’re traveling to the UK or live in the UK, whether for a short period of time or as an expat, why don’t you join my Facebook group where you can ask questions, get advice or just look at pretty pictures of this part of the world! Just click here to request to join and I’ll add you!

People walking on a bridge with St Paul's cathedral in the background

The benefit of an API program in London is that they are immersive. You’ll usually be working and living alongside UK professors and students and making friends with British students is much easier.


Of course, on the other hand, if you’re someone who wants a ton of on-site support or to be guaranteed to be surrounded by the ‘safety’ of American students, API in London programs might not be for you (except for the FSU direct enroll program, which is with US students).

A colourful street in London

You’ll be able to reach the API program managers at any time, but you won’t see them everyday like you would on some other programs.

API UCL Direct Enrollment

API’s UCL program has one of the highest GPA requirements (3.3 overall and 3.5 in your major). It also only allows juniors and seniors, while others allow sophomores as well.

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I was drawn to the UCL program because I specifically wanted a more rigorous study abroad experience where the ‘study’ wasn’t an afterthought.

UCL is ranked in the Top 10 universities in the world and has an impressive list of alumni.

It has one of the best locations in London and is walking distance from Oxford Street and King’s Cross Station.

A whale skeleton in the Natural History Museum in London

It’s a large university, so small classes aren’t the norm, and it functions more like a large American university rather than a smaller liberal arts college.

Hands-Off Learning

While you are assigned a ‘tutor,’ or academic advisor, British universities tend to be a lot more ‘hands-off’ in their approach to higher education.

You’re expected to do most of the real learning outside of the classroom using the guidelines you’ve been given in lectures, and you won’t usually have assigned pages to read or weekly ‘homework’ to do.

Professors are accessible if needed, most of the time, but won’t go out of their way to make sure that you are showing up to class. You get as much out of your time at UCL as you put into it.


While at UCL, you live in API-provided housing. When I lived there in 2012, we were in Astor College, a residence hall only a 5-7 minute walk from the campus.

The downsides to housing are that you’ll be living with ‘first-years’ or freshmen, which can be a bit tedious for juniors and seniors.

It’s also university housing, and standard university housing isn’t known for it’s luxury or beauty.

API wouldn’t put you somewhere that wasn’t suitable or dilapidated, of course, so wherever you are will have what you need.

Extra-curriculars during your UCL Direct Enrollment Program

Because UCL is so large, there are an unbelievable number of clubs and societies to join.

UCL also hosts it’s own excursions and ‘days out’ for its students at a reduced price, which you can do on top of API excursions. You’ll have access to the student union and the library as well, just like a normal student.

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API UCl Direct Enrollment is a great option for those looking for a more academically-rigorous study abroad program, or for students who are specifically looking for a less insular study abroad environment.

I wouldn’t recommend the UCL program to someone who is looking to study with US students or who would prefer to have day-to-day contact with advisers and support staff, but that’s not because of any failing on API or the university’s part–it’s just not how the program is set up.

I have great memories of my time at UCL and was really able to gain an understanding of the differences between British universities and American universities. UCL prepared me for my Master’s at the University of Westminster, and I would definitely recommend it.

The London Eye from below with a blue sky in the background

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This British-American Life

4 years ago

I am keeping this mind for when The Sprog is university age. (We are thinking the UK would be more ideal for graduate studies at this point.) The Boffin went to Imperial when it was part of UCL and was very happy with it.


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