What does ‘first generation’ mean?

You count as first generation to go to university, even if the following have gone to university:

  • Brothers or Sisters 
  • Biological parents of applicants who have been adopted 
  • A parent with whom you have had no contact during your secondary and post-16 education (or longer)
  • Uncles, aunts and other members of your extended family

You do not count as first generation if the following have gone to university or are currently doing so: 

  • Parents
  • Step parents
What does 'going to university' mean?

'Going to university' means studying for a higher education qualification equivalent to at least one year full-time. This is normally equivalent to at least 120 points at higher education level and can be a certificate, diploma, degree or above. 

Who is a 'care leaver'?

The definition of a care leaver (Care Leavers Association) is “Any adult who spent time in care as a child (i.e. under the age of 18). Such care could be in foster care, residential care (mainly children’s homes), or other arrangements outside the immediate or extended family. The care could have been provided directly by the state (mainly through local authority social services departments) or by the voluntary or private sector (e.g. Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society and many others). It can range from as little as a few months to as long as one’s whole childhood (18 years). 

I am a final year student - may I still apply to SEO-London?

Yes. The SEO programme is now open to students in ALL years of study. If you are a final year student or recent graduate, you can apply for graduate roles and training contracts. If you are a penultimate year student or a final year student intending on pursuing a Masters programme for 2015-16, you can apply for the summer internship programmes. Please note that if you are a final year student applying for internships, you will need to confirm which master’s programme you are considering when you apply. If you are offered a place on the programme, you will need to provide confirmation of your applications for master’s programmes. Before your internship begins you may need to provide us with a copy of your acceptance letter.

What year of study should I be in to apply for vacation placements? Is the programme open to non-law students?

Students completing a summer 2015 vacation scheme should be on track to complete their academic and legal qualifications by the end of the 2015-2016 academic year in order to start full time with partner law firms in the summer of 2016 or spring 2017. This means:

•    Law students can apply in either their penultimate or final year of undergraduate study (before going on to complete their LPC);
•    Non law students should generally be in their final year of undergraduate study (before going on to complete their GDL and LPC); and
•    Students currently at Law School should be on track to complete their LPC in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Please note we will also accept applications from penultimate year non law students and students completing their LPC before 2015-2016 but for such students we cannot guarantee placement at all partner firms and decisions will be made on a discretionary basis.

Does it matter that I have already done internships/vacation schemes with other non-sponsor firms?


I did not achieve BBB equivalent at A-level and/or am not on track for a 1st/2.1 at university. Can I still apply to SEO London?

Applicants who do not achieve a minimum of BBB at A-level or who are not on track for a minimum of a 2.1 at university will generally not be considered for the investment banking and consulting programmes unless there are mitigating circumstances (e.g. medical issues, for which the applicant would have to provide official documentation). If you have mitigating circumstances, you can indicate these on the application form. 

I am an international student who is not studying in the UK at present - can I apply?

To be eligible to apply you must have studied within the UK or EU for at least one year and must also be available in person for interviews (held in October through to February). All international applicants should be intending to start their careers in London after graduation and remain for at least three years.

I am an international student studying in the UK but need a work permit to work in the UK – can I apply?

Yes you can still apply. Many of our sponsor firms sponsor work permits for successful candidates.

I have made a past application to SEO in previous years. Can I still apply for this year’s class?

Yes, you are eligible to apply again but you must meet our eligibility criteria and resubmit your application with your updated information. You only need to log in to your online dashboard using your existing login details, update your profile (such as CV, industry preferences, etc.) and resubmit your application. You do not need to create a new online account.

I was recommended by SEO last year. Can I still apply for this year’s class?

Yes. If you were previously recommended by SEO to our sponsor firms, SEO will be able to fast track you through some stages, meaning in most cases you will not need to go through any online tests/phone interviews that you may have completed with us last cycle. We do however need you to resubmit an application.

I have made an application to SEO London; am I also eligible to apply to SEO USA?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. Please see www.seo-usa.org.

I have made an application to SEO USA, am I also eligible to apply to SEO London?

Yes, as long as you meet our eligibility criteria. You must have studied or be planning to study in the UK for at least one year and you must also be available in person for interviews (held in October through to February). You should also be aware of our deadlines and make sure these dates complement your own schedule if you will be studying outside the UK.

What does the SEO application entail?

The SEO application form has been significantly shortened. All you need is to fill in your personal details and upload a CV. 

Can SEO help with my CV?

Yes absolutely. There are also some sample CV templates on the application form which you can download and fill in with your own information. However you should submit your application as soon as possible. Upon submission, if we feel that you have a strong application but need help with your CV, we will absolutely contact you to help improve your CV even further.

A significant portion of my education has taken place outside of the UK. How do you advise that I fill out the education portion of the application?

You should fill out the application as best as you can with the international equivalent for each academic qualification. If you are unable to do this please mention so and detail the information on your CV so that we know to refer to that.

I have only applied to a few firms directly at this point, but I plan to apply to more in the next few weeks. Should I include the banks to which I plan to apply on the SEO application?

There is a place on the application form where you can advise us about this. Please note that if you are applying to any of our sponsor firms, please ensure you select SEO as your affiliation. This may help endorse any direct applications you may be making. You can do this by selecting "yes" when asked if you are an SEO candidate or selecting "SEO" when asked about how you heard about the firm.
Please note:
•    SEO will not be able to recommend you to any bank where your direct application has been rejected.
•    We would therefore advise you to pay close attention to the screening criteria that a bank details for those interested in applying (in particular, the academic grades required at A-level, university, etc.). Given the extremely high number of internship applications most banks receive, these grade requirements can often be very high and therefore result in your application being automatically rejected if you do not meet them. 
•    We always recommend that you make direct applications in addition to your SEO application to make sure you maximise your chances of gaining an internship or graduate role.

When I apply to SEO London, is my application sent to the sponsor firms?

No. When you apply to SEO London, your SEO application is only for our office and we do not pass this through to our sponsor firms. However, if you are successful through the SEO process, the final stage of recommendations will require us to send your CV and reference letter to sponsor firms.

My CV is longer than one page for X reason, what should I do?

You should submit a one page CV with your SEO application. If for any reason you need to submit a longer CV, please be aware that if you are successful in being offered a place on the SEO programme, you would then need to update your CV to be no longer than one page. You should try and cut your CV down appropriately from now; please use the sample CVs as a guide to the type of layout and things you should be including.

When will I hear back about the status of my online application?

You can expect to hear back within 4- 6 weeks.

What happens after I submit my application?

After you submit your application, there are three rounds of assessment. The first is the screening of your application form. If you are successful through this, the second stage will be a short telephone/in person interview. Following this, the third and final round of assessment will be an online numerical and/or verbal reasoning test. If you are successful with the online tests you will proceed to the final stage of the SEO process, which is the recommendation stage.

What happens if I am successful to the final stage (recommendation stage)?

If you are told by SEO that you have made it to the final recommendation stage of the SEO assessment process, this means that your CV and reference letter will be sent to our partner firms for review. Sponsor firms will then decide who they would like to call through to interview. We will be indicating to the sponsor firms that they can either reach out to you directly or they can contact SEO and we will get in touch with you regarding next steps. If you are contacted directly, you should let SEO know as SEO will provide you with materials and coaching for your interviews. 

Can SEO provide access to more than one firm and more than one industry?

Yes, students can complete multiple internships and vacation placements through the scheme. SEO can recommend you to more than one industry and to multiple firms across each industry. As long as there are no logistical clashes, you can do as many internships/vacation placements as you get offers for.

If I am recommended will I have to go through the entire firm direct process?

Those that are called through to interview will be (in some cases) fast tracked to final round assessment stages. However, each firm will have their individual processes, but SEO will provide plenty of support and guidance with these interview stages.

Can the SEO programme be used for help and support with the graduate and training contract application process if I become a successful SEO candidate?

SEO will support students before, during and after their internships and vacation schemes to maximise their chances of securing a graduate role or training contract with a partner firm. More than 80% of SEO alumni have secured full-time positions with partner firms following their summer experience. SEO provides ongoing support to alumni in the industry throughout their careers.

Who should provide my letter of recommendation?

Recommendations must be provided by a current academic lecturer or tutor (i.e. not a sixth form teacher or former / current employer) who can comment on your academic record.

Can my recommendation provider submit my recommendations via e-mail?

The recommendation cannot be submitted to SEO via email as it would not be official but they can use the online system to submit references in soft copy. If your provider is unable to complete the letter online via the application system he/she should alternatively post it to us directly and on official university letterhead.

I would like to add an additional letter of reference or change my referee, but I have already submitted my application. What do I do?

In this case, please ask your referee to send a hardcopy (in university headed paper) by post. Please address it to SEO London, 18 - 21 Hand Court, London WC1V 6JF. This will be updated on the system within 1-2 weeks upon receipt.

How will I know if SEO London has received my letter of reference?

You will be able to go back into your application and check that the letter has been submitted by using your login details. 

Once your application says the reference has been submitted, please take this as confirmation that we have it stored in our system.



For frequently asked questions, please click here.