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Students benefit from the ‘realising aspirations’ programme that facilitates applications to many of the UK’s top universities. Consequently, students have high aspirations for their next steps. Most move into higher education. (Ofsted, 2020)

Our flagship programme aims to prepare you for life after college. Through seminars and lectures given by leading university professors, you will experience university life on a subject strand that you are most interested in. You will also get to visit universities across the country too! 

The (2022/23), the Realising Aspirations programme worked with: 

  • 8 x Russell Group universities: University of Oxford, University of Manchester, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Durham University, University of Birmingham, University of Sheffield, University of Bristol
  • 3 x specialist universities: Leeds Arts University, University of Law, and the Courtauld Institute of Art
  • 4 x other universities: Manchester Metropolitan University, Leeds Trinity University, Huddersfield University, Bradford University, Nottingham Trent University, University of Lincoln and Edge Hill University

“It’s a helpful way to make decisions regarding university choices. It allows you to experience parts of university education that will guide you to a decision that suits you.”


Each student who signs up to the programme, chooses a particular subject strand to focus on. You will then visit a university that ranks highly or specialises in that area, as well as attending in-college sessions with guest lecturers. We have developed an online resource guide with additional webinars and resources. The aim of the programme is to allow you to try university-level teaching and explore the opportunities at degree-level. 

Pathways are subject to change each year, but previous pathways include:

  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Creative & Digital Industries
  • Criminology & Psychology
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • History & Politics
  • History of Art
  • Law
  • Life sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Sciences
  • Sociology
  • The Written Word
  • Working with Young People

“I have been to a taster law lecture at Nottingham University which gave me an experience of how different it is to college as well as enabling me to find out more about university in general.”

"It has made me more optimistic about university have since booked/attended open days for the Universities who provided in-college sessions and a second look at Edge Hill following the visit made with the programme."


By bringing in lecturers and guest speakers from universities across the country, students who haven't enrolled on the programme or those who want to also try out other subject strands have chance to take part in in-college sessions. They are a great opportunities to try an alternative subject and learn something new. 


“It will allow you to decide if a subject/career is for you and even if you decide it isn't, you'll meet lots more people at college who have the same interests as you.”


Year 10 Realising Aspirations Programme

The programme provides students with a unique insight into post-16 education by participating in various subject sessions and equips them with the confidence and skills to make a successful transition after they leave school. The programme also introduces students to ideas of higher education and other post-18 pathways through our Pathways Evening.

 Pathways are subject to change each year, but previous pathways included:

  • Art & Design
  • Business, Accounting & Economics
  • Digital Technology & Multimedia
  • Humanities
  • Science & Maths
  • Social Sciences
  • Performing Arts

Find out more about the programme by speaking to the Realising Aspirations Co-ordinator, Alex Noble, based in the Careers & Employability team.

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