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! 

This year (2021/22), the Realising Aspirations programme worked with: 

  • 8 x Russell Group universities: University of Oxford, University of Manchester, University of Leeds, Newcastle University, Durham University, University of Birmingham, University of Sheffield, University of Bristol
  • 4 x specialist universities: Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Leeds Arts University, University of Law, and the Courtauld Institute of Art
  • 7 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. This year we are taking a hybrid approach which enables students to work closely with local universities and those further afield. 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.”


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.”


Find out more about the programme by speaking to the Realising Aspirations Co-ordinator, Alex Noble, based in Student Services. 

Realising Aspirations

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