Building Up to Higher Education

This free taster course will develop your academic language and literacy skills. It will provide the ideal preparation for future study at the University of Bristol.

On the course, you will discover what it is like to be a university student.

In structured taught sessions, you will:

  • gain an understanding of university-level expectations, reflecting on your strengths and areas for development
  • review note-taking strategies to help you summarise and respond to complex ideas
  • learn how to structure an academic argument and support your key points with sources
  • practice participating in seminar discussions, presenting your own ideas and engaging with other people’s
  • discuss university-level marking criteria and how to use feedback to improve your work
  • reflect on your learning and set goals for future academic study.

After the course, you will be well placed to apply for our Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences or our Foundation Year in Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

As Mick, a 2022 attendee, put it: ‘I fully benefitted from the course by way of an understanding of what university life entails and the realisation that, with a lot of hard work and commitment, anyone (regardless of history or background) could enrich themselves with further education.' 

Read more about Mick's experience.


You will attend six sessions in total, each lasting two hours. We will run these sessions from 5.30 to 7.30pm on:

  • Thursday 25 January 2024
  • Thursday 1 February 2024
  • Thursday 8 February 2024
  • Thursday 22 February 2024
  • Thursday 29 February 2024
  • Thursday 7 March 2024

There will be no session on Thursday 15 February 2024.


This face-to-face course will take place on Barton Hill micro-campus, Bristol.

Class size

You will study in small, supportive groups. An expert tutor from the Centre for Academic Language and Development will lead the classes.

For the course to run, we will need a minimum of eight students.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 8 January 2024.

Entry requirements

This course aims to prepare you for higher education. It is open to anyone who has not previously studied at university level, regardless of their background or educational history.

You must be aged 18 and over to apply. We will give priority to people aged 20 and over.

We will ask participants to demonstrate a proficient level of English language on their application. This is to ensure that everyone can fully engage with and benefit from the course.

How to apply

Applications have now closed.

If you have any questions, please contact: 


While this course will prepare you for a foundation course, completing it does not guarantee you an offer from the University of Bristol. You will need to complete the usual application form and interview process.


Applications have now closed. You can find more events for prospective mature students here.

If you have any questions, please contact:

The tutors were knowledgeable and engaging – keen to encourage all attendees' interaction, yet not pushy. This relaxed mood made for great communication between the like-minded attendees.

Mick (Course attendee, 2022)
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