Why Should Students in Europe Consider Doing an EPQ?

16/05/20247 minute read
Why Should Students in Europe Consider Doing an EPQ?

If your child is studying the A-levels curriculum in Europe and looking to increase their chances of getting into top universities then they really should be considering the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Extended Project Qualification Overview

The EPQ is an independent research project and extended essay. The EPQ allows students to add depth or breadth to one of their examined subjects or the option to explore other areas of academic interest relevant to undergraduate courses for which they intend to apply. Successful EPQ projects are valued highly by university admissions tutors as credible evidence of engagement with super-curricular learning.

What is an Extended Project Qualification?

The EPQ is meant to take a student’s skill set above the secondary school level by giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research and manage a complex project. The topic of choice should be relevant to the student’s academic or professional aspirations.

How Does it Work?

The learning journey is organised into four phases:

Phase 1 = Plan and propose
Phase 2 = Research
Phase 3 = Produce
Phase 4 = Review

Study skills are delivered in weekly taught skills lessons and supported through weekly clinics and supervisions. Subject-specialist supervisors are allocated after successful submission of formal project proposals to inform and promote rigorous engagement with academic research and academic writing.

What's the Difference Between EPQ VS IB?

While the International Baccalaureate (IB) Extended Essay is similar to the EPQ, the EPQ offers more flexibility in topic selection and project format. Unlike the more structured IB Extended Essay, the EPQ allows students to explore areas of personal interest that may not be covered in their standard curriculum.

The Value of an EPQ in University Applications

No university in the UK or Europe explicitly requires the EPQ for admission because the EPQ is not offered by all schools. However, some universities will make reduced offers for students that achieve a high grade in an EPQ and its presence on a student's application is viewed favourably. The EPQ demonstrates a student’s ability to manage a long-term project and take on independent research, skills that are invaluable at the university level.

For example, Jade, one of our CGA students, took A-levels with a clear goal: to secure a place in her dream universities. With the support of EPQ and CGA, she not only achieved this but also received acceptance letters from 7 of the world's top universities and will go on to study at Princeton University.

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Universities appreciate the EPQ for several reasons:

  • The EPQ is valued by universities both in the UK and internationally. It helps show a student's ability to go above what’s expected of them to undertake research and contribute new ideas in an academic area of interest.
  • The originality of each EPQ project can make for an interesting discussion with university interviewers which can give students a competitive edge in comparison to generic topics around curricular subjects discussed.
  • For A Level students, the EPQ allows students to develop independent research, scholarly writing, and analysis skills in a project that prepares students for self-study at university.

Why should students invest in an EPQ at CGA?

At Crimson Global Academy, we provide personalised guidance to help students maximise their EPQ experience.

  • CGA teachers are subject matter experts that guide students to create unique EPQ project subjects that support their academic goals.
  • We offer structured support throughout the project, from planning to execution and presentation.
  • Studying EPQ at CGA allows students that are applying for subjects not taught at A Level (i.e. Medicine, Engineering) to showcase their interest and knowledge.

Is the EPQ for you?

Here’s what Mr Yates, CGA’s EPQ Coordinator, also advises students to consider when debating whether taking an EPQ is for them.

Grade inflation over a number of years, means that admissions tutors are faced with so many students offering A* grades across a range of examined subjects at A Level. By undertaking and completing an EPQ on a topic related to your chosen course, you are giving yourself the best opportunity possible to stand out, both on paper and at any interview.

In my opinion, an EPQ is the best way for able and ambitious students to stretch and challenge themselves in preparation for university. Our most able and aspirational students should not be asking ‘why should I do an EPQ?’, they should be asking ‘why would I not do an EPQ?’.

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How can I enrol in EPQ at CGA?

If your child has a natural intellectual curiosity, then the EPQ is a great opportunity for them to seek out further learning in their interest areas. To find out more about EPQ and whether this option is right for them, get in touch with our Academic Advisors for tailored information.