Glasgow pupils learn university skills

The University of Glasgow’s Top-Up programme helps prepare pupils for the transition from school to university by introducing them to new learning methods and by helping them develop skills such as critical thinking, independent learning and essay writing.

Pupils receive 10 in-school sessions to help them with these essential study skills, go on campus visits, and complete a written assignment. Focusing on pupils aged 15 to 17 (Year 11 and 12), the programme provides a portfolio of work that is graded for when participants apply to university, and those who complete the programme successfully receive an adjusted offer from the university.


Top-Up is the last step in the university’s GOALS (Greater Opportunity of Access and Learning with Schools) programme, which targets schools with low participation in higher education and provides opportunities for pupils aged 10 to 18.

The university carries out evaluations of its pre-entry programmes to establish their effectiveness. Their studies have shown that the programmes are leading to more pupils from non-traditional backgrounds enrolling at the university, being better-prepared for university, and increased retention.

More Top-Up students continue into higher education (87.3%) than non-Top-Up students (85.5%), on comparable terms with students from schools with greater progression to higher education (88.1%).

The high performance of the Top-Up students suggests that completing a pre-entry programme successfully makes a difference in terms of student performance and has a positive impact on student success and outcomes.

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