Who we support

We support high-attaining students from lower income homes across the UK. To apply to our programmes, all students must attend a UK state school or college. Then we look at a range of academic and social mobility criteria focusing on:

    • The student and their family
    • The school that the student attends
    • The area that the student is growing up in
    • The grades that the student has attained

More detail on all of these criteria can be found on each individual programme page.

Of the students who went on our programmes last year


The proportion that were eligible for free school meals.


The proportion that were among the first in their family to go to university.


The proportion that met 3 or more social mobility criteria.


How does my child apply to a Sutton Trust programme?

For most programmes, young people apply to our programmes directly through our website. Please visit the page for the programme your child is interested in for further details and timelines for applications. Please note, your child may only take part in one Sutton Trust programme at one time.

What do I need to do during this process?

Nothing, our application form is designed for students to fill out. If your child’s application is successful, you will be sent consent forms to fill in, and may have to provide information on your child’s medical history. Please do keep an eye on your inbox.

How much does it cost?

All of our programmes are free of charge. This includes travel, accommodation and food. In some cases, you may be asked to pay some travel costs upfront, but these will always be reiumbursed. If paying upfront costs is a concern, please contact your child’s university.

At what age should my child apply to the programme?

In most cases, our programmes are targeted at students in Year 12 in England and Wales, S5 in Scotland, and Year 13 in Northern Ireland. There are exceptions, so please do check the individual programme page that your child is interested in.

How likely is my child to be successful?

All of our programmes are very popular, and unfortunately we get many more applications than we have places. For example, there can be up to seven applications for each place on our Summer Schools. This means that we often have to turn away many very good applications.

I’m concerned about my child’s wellbeing on the programme. What is done to ensure that they are well looked-after?

When they apply, students can list any requirements that we will need to take into account (e.g. medical, religious, or dietary requirements etc.). We will do all that we can to ensure that any and all necessary adjustments are made so that your child is supported across their time on the programme.

My child is going on a residential programme. Where will they be staying?

On all of our residentials, students will stay at university Halls of Residence. All programmes are well-staffed, including staff on call throughout the night, and all staff are DBS/PVG checked.

How does the Sutton Trust safeguard children whilst they are on programmes?

The Sutton Trust is committed to providing an environment on our programmes which is welcoming and safe, and enables young people to speak up in confidence knowing that their worries, fears or concerns will be heard and acted upon. We work with our partner universities to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risk of harm to a young person’s welfare is minimized. All staff who work on our programmes are DBS/PVG checked. Please click here for our full safeguarding policy and procedure.

What happens on our programmes?

All of our programmes are different! Full details of what each one contains are listed on the individual page for that programme.

What support can I give my child more generally?

Engage with your child as early as possible about their post-18 steps. Take time out to talk to your child about their plans. The more they are able to articulate their ideas to you, the easier it will be for them to put them down on a UCAS statement! Encourage your child to read around the areas that they are interested in. We recommend looking at the UCAS website for a full listing of other access opportunities.

Explore other Sutton Trust programmes