US Programme icon
S5 (Scotland), Year 12 (England and Wales), Year 13 (NI)
UK Wide
2 years

What the programme offers

UK Residentials

UK Residentials

At the April residential you’ll meet your cohort from across the UK. This action-packed residential will allow you to hear from current students, alumni of American universities and experts in the admissions and test prep field. You will also spend time preparing to go on your US week and begin to work on elements of the US admissions application such as essays, the extracurricular list, and the ACT test in June.

A week in the US

A week in the US

There are several different residential weeks – each group will stay in university dorms and take part in campus tours, information sessions and cultural activities. You will also take part in a university fair, where students will meet with university representatives from all over the US. During this week, you will start to decide if studying in the US is the right route for you and we’ll be there at each step to help you with making an informed choice.


Expert guidance

Expert guidance

The Sutton Trust has partnered with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, the leading education exchange programme between the US and the UK, to deliver the Sutton Trust US programme and provide expert guidance to students applying to US universities. Drawing on Fulbright’s expertise of US higher education, the Sutton Trust US Programme advisors will help you develop the skills you need to be successful in the US admissions process. We’ll support you with finding a university that will be a good fit for you, prepare you for interviews, match you to mentors, help you and your family with applying for financial aid, and more.


Support for families and schools

Support for families and schools

Families and teachers form a crucial support network for students on the programme, as well as providing key information about the student. We understand that parents/guardians of programme participants may not have experience of the US admissions process, so we aim to provide support and guidance from the beginning of the programme through webinars, information sessions and resources. We also work alongside schools to write student references and train teachers on how best to support students who are applying to the US.


Access to our Alumni Network

Access to our Alumni Network

All Sutton Trust US Programme students will be invited to join the Sutton Trust alumni community. Now 3,500+ strong, you’ll gain access to, the online platform that offers careers support, exclusive events and the chance to connect with other alumni. We also host a special reunion event for students who participated in the US Programme – this involves an information session, skills workshops and a great opportunity to catch-up with your friends from the programme.


Who can apply


Students applying to the US Programme must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently be in S5 (Scotland), Year 12 (England and Wales), or Year 13 (Northern Ireland).
  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded school or college (non-fee paying) in the UK
  • Not hold US citizenship
  • Be from a low-income family (generally, this will mean a household earning £45,000 or less)
  • Be interested in US culture and higher education


In addition, we are looking for students who:

  • Would be the first generation of their family to attend university
  • Have been eligible for free school meals
  • Attend a school or college with a below-average A Level or Higher point score and/or a low rate of progression into higher education
  • Live in a neighbourhood with a low rate of progression into higher education and/or a high level of socio-economic deprivation
  • Have excellent GCSEs or National 5 results:
    • England and Northern Ireland: Have achieved at least eight GCSEs at grade A or 7 or above, or near this level
    • Wales: Have achieved at least eight GCSEs at grade A or above, or near this level
    • Scotland: Have achieved at least six B passes at National 5 or above, or near this level

The more of these criteria you meet, the more likely you are to be accepted onto the programme.

When I first got on the US Programme, I thought it was some kind of mistake and I was terrified of being inadequate among the best and brightest of the UK. A year later, and I’ve been accepted into my first-choice American university! The support I’ve received has been absolutely life-changing, and I wouldn’t change my experience for the world. Adelina, London, US Programme 2018
I’d thought about studying in the US before, but I never thought that it would be an actual option for my future. I didn’t know about liberal arts, so my original idea was to go there, study law and become a lawyer; but learning about the US education system, what it means to be the “right fit” for a university and what it means to have a well-rounded education opened my eyes a little. Bailey, Porth, US Programme 2019
More than anything, I think this programme has given me confidence. I developed confidence in learning to travel by myself, I developed confidence in meeting new people, and I developed confidence in just saying YES to new opportunities. Dona, St. Helens, US Programme 2019
The programme is a life-changing experience. It broadens your horizons and offers an alternative approach to education. The previous students all preached about their lifelong friends from the program, I didn't believe them - if only I knew how wrong I was! Maia, Newport, US Programme 2019

How to apply

Applications for the US Programme 2023 are now open!

Please apply using this link.

To find out more about the programme, head to our dedicated US programme website.

Programme Impact


The number of our students that have been admitted to a US university.


The number of US universities our students have attended.


The amount of financial aid accessed by our students.


The proportion of our students who are in the first generation of their family to go to university.


The Sutton Trust is incredibly grateful for the generous support that make our programmes possible. Special thanks to:

Explore other Sutton Trust programmes