Why wait to start exploring your university options?

Our Sutton Scholars programme aims to support you in to university by providing early intervention. Each programme lasts for a minimum of two years and allows you to find out what university is all about, visit the campus, try out subjects and make well informed decisions now to help your future education.

Piloting in 2013, the programme now runs at five leading universities and will enrol 465 new students this year.

Research has shown that by age 15 some high achieving students have already fallen behind and do not go on to meet their potential. We want to make sure that you achieve yours!


The Trust have teamed up with 5 leading universities across the country to offer programmes for students from areas local to those universities.
1.800 students have already benefitted from the programme
640 students enrol every year, you could be one of them!

Whilst each university has a unique programme of activities, every Sutton Scholars Student will be offered:

  • University campus visits: explore the campus, try out new subjects

  • Support in your decision making: choosing your GCSE and A-level subjects, keeping your options open

  • Information sessions for you and your parents/carers

  • The chance to meet students currently studying at university


Students applying to Sutton Scholars must be attending a state school and meet two or more of the following academic criteria:

  • Achieved Level 5 in 3 out of 4 KS2 SATs (Reading, Writing, Maths and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) and/or Level 6 in one of the subjects

  • Be on track to achieve 5 or more A*/A and/or grades 6-9 at GCSE

  • Identified as part of a Gifted and Talented/Highly Able or equivalent cohort within school

  • Strong academic reference from their teacher

In addition, we are looking for students who:

  • Would be the first generation in their family to attend university

  • Have been in receipt of Free School Meals whilst at secondary school

  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to higher education, or a higher than average proportion of students who qualify for Free School Meals

  • Live in an area with low progression to higher education and/or high socio-economic deprivation

  • Have been looked after or in care

*The more of these criteria you meet, the more likely it is that you will be offered a place on the programme.


Sutton Scholars runs for a minimum of two academic years. The programme is run for the following age groups:

University of Cambridge: Years 9-10 (age 13-15)
Imperial College London: Years 7-9 (age 11-14)
University of Nottingham: Years 7-9 (age 11-14)
University College London: Years 8-9 (age 12-14)
University of Warwick: Years 8-9 (age 12-14)

University of Cambridge

Imperial College London

University of Nottingham

University College London

The University of Warwick


Applications for Sutton Scholars are managed by each university.

Only Cambridge, Nottingham and Warwick are recruiting new cohorts in the autumn of 2019 and they work with target secondary schools. If you live in these areas speak to your school about getting involved.


I didn’t think I would’ve come to scholars, I thought I’d be the ‘odd one’ – I wouldn’t fit in…I was wrong.

I couldn’t say thank you enough to Sutton Scholars. If anyone was to apply for this programme, just be yourself, you will guarantee make new friends whether in the same or a different group.

It’s an amazing team of mentors and they will most certainly take care of you as they did with us and the teams previous to us.

Sutton Scholars Student

97% of Sutton Scholar graduates said that they would apply to university

95% of parents felt the programme would motivate their son/daughter with their studies

Survey Responses

My first thoughts were that this would be an amazing experience and that I would learn lots from a university student perspective, and therefore this would prepare me for my near future.  So far my experience at Sutton Scholars has been very enjoyable, I have met lots of new people including all the mentors on this programme. Furthermore, this programme has taught how to complete tasks at a university level and have given me clear feedback not only verbally but also through marking my homework. Finally I was able to test my communication, confidence and leadership skills as I presented and worked as part of a team.

Sutton Scholars Student

Before I went to the Sutton Scholars programme, I thought it would be written lessons but instead it is fun and interactive. It is a different approach to learning which I really like as you study so many interesting topics. I think Sutton Scholars has gained me access to a wider range of opportunities that I am grateful to have as they will help me in higher education in future. I want to become a surgeon and hope to go to university and the Sutton Scholars programme has made me want to go to university definitely as it is a better future. University will enable me (to access) more jobs and opportunities for the future and I hope to make the most of it. I really enjoy Sutton Scholars and I am proud to be part of this amazing programme.

Sutton Scholars Student


At the moment, Sutton Scholars only runs in the areas listed.

If you do not live in these areas or your school is not taking part, you unfortunately cannot take part in the programme.

Our post-16 programmes are open to national applications so check back and apply for those when you are old enough.

Sutton Trust programmes specifically support students from state schools. You are not eligible to apply for the programme if you attend a private school.

Thank you for your interest!

Check that the programme is running in your area and then contact your closest university or Sutton Trust for more information

No – the programme is entirely free for all participants