Top-Up Programme

Programme overview

The Top-Up Programme is a preparation course for higher education for pupils who are currently applying for, or are considering applying for, Higher Education courses in university or college. The Top-Up Programme will help pupils prepare for Higher Education and equip pupils with the key skills needed for successful study in Higher Education. 

The Programme is facilitated by Postgraduate Tutors who will deliver in-school or online sessions over the course of several weeks.  Pupils will also attend a campus session at the University of Glasgow or take part in an online campus workshop.  They will experience a lecture, seminar and student life workshop. Pupils will also have submit a written piece of work, to be completed to academic standards.  Pupils are assessed in three areas: Overall Performance, preparation and participation for a seminar and finally a written piece of work.  If a pupil secures a profile of BBB or above, we will then pass their Profiles to all of the universities to which they have applied to.  This could allow the pupil to receive an adjusted offer of entry. 


The Top-Up programme works with c. 100 Secondary School in the West of Scotland. The programme is available to pupils who attend one of these schools and meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Live in an SIMD decile 1-4 (SIMD 20/40)
  • Are care experienced
  • Are estranged from family and living without family support
  • Are a carer (provide unpaid care)
  • Are seeking asylum in the UK
  • Have refugee status

We may also consider those learners whose education or exam performance has been impacted upon by extenuating circumstances. If you do not meet any of the above criteria, but think you should be considered please speak to your pastoral care teacher in the first place. 

How to apply

Pupils who are interested in taking part should speak to their pastoral care teacher in school to find out if they are eligible to take part in the programme and how and when to register for the programme. 

Why take part

By taking part, participants will get first-hand experience of what it is like to study at college and university.

Participants learn key academic skills that will allow them to be successful once they enter Further or Higher Education including critical thinking, critical reading, debate skills, note making and note taking skills. As well as, gaining first hand-experience of being on a university campus and participating in a university lecture and seminar.

Throughout the programme participants will work with a postgraduate Widening Participation Tutor as well as have the opportunity to speak to and engage with one of our undergraduate mentors.

The Top-Up Programme is accredited on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), and by completing the programme pupils receive 10 credits at SCQF level 7

Successful completion of the programme can also lead to adjusted entry requirements to the University of Glasgow, as well as other higher education institutions.

Contact us

For more information on the programme, please email us:


Please see our testimonials page.


Frequently asked questions

How do I find out if I can take part in the programme?

Please check the eligibility criteria and speak to your pastoral care or guidance teacher. They will be able to confirm whether or not your school takes part in the programme and if you can take part.

You do not work with my school, but I meet the eligibility criteria, can I still take part?

Unfortunately, if we do not run the programme in your school you will not be able to take part. However, you may be eligible for our Summer School or Sutton Trust Programme.

Will I be required to do any work?

Yes. The reason that our pre-entry programmes can lead to adjusted offers on entry is because they are academic rigorous. Throughout the programmes you will complete university level (SCQF Level 7) work with the support of our widening participation tutors and staff.

I do not meet any of the eligibility criteria but have had adverse circumstances impact on my exam results/education. Can I take part?

Speak to your pastoral care teacher in the first instance. Alternatively, you may wish to consult our Extenuating Circumstances policy.

I am taking part in the Reach Programme. Should I take part in the Top-Up Programme as well?

Successful completion of the Reach Programme will lead to an adjusted offer of entry to one of the four Reach professional degrees. If you apply to any other degree areas you will need to complete either the Top-Up programme or our Summer School programme.

For clarification of any terminology please consult our testimonials page.

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