[skip to content]

Academic Development Directorate

SOAS Bridging Course

Are you the first in your family to go to university?  
Or do you live in an area where few people progress to university*?

If so, we would like to invite you to attend the SOAS Bridging Course.  This free week-long course is designed to enable you to make a flying start to your studies and university life, and will be taking place on 7th - 11th September 2015.

The course involves:
  • Tips and advice from current students
  • Lectures and seminars with academic staff
  • Workshops to further develop the skills needed for success at university
  • Getting to know your fellow students in advance of Welcome Week
  • Everything required for you to make a flying start to your time at university!
Do people enjoy the course and find it useful?

Not only does evidence show that the Bridging Course supports students to do better at SOAS, but it's also a lot of fun!  The best advocates for the Bridging Course are current SOAS students themselves; here are a few things they have said:

"To be 100% honest, the Bridging Course set me up for what was an exciting and eventful first year at SOAS.  I made friends for life and got a head-start in how to face the challenges and experiences of university life"

"The Bridging Course was an amazing experience hence I'd recommend it to anyone with the opportunity to attend!  Alongside recalling study skills after a long break, it's a great opportunity to make friends and immerse yourself into the university before starting, which will make Freshers a more enjoyable experience.  I made great friends on the course who are now my close friends at uni!"

"The Bridging Course is definitely invaluable...It helps to prepare you for life at university and you will have an opportunity to meet others on your course.  Plus, the biscuits are delicious!"

What happens during the course?

The week begins with a chance to get to know your fellow course-mates and the SOAS campus, as well as picking up tips from current SOAS students who attended the Bridging Course before they started their degree.  You'll also have the opportunity to identify the strengths and skills you are bringing to the study of your subject.  The second day will focus on academic study skills, and you'll also experience some university lectures, and prepare for the different kinds of learning you will experience during your time at SOAS.

On the Wednesday, you will experience what a real university seminar is like, and will write a short piece of academic work based on the seminar and lectures you have experienced.  Don't worry about this!  It's an invaluable opportunity to practice the kind of work you will be doing in a completely risk-free setting - and you will receive one-to-one feedback on your work at a later date.  This will help you to identify what you do well and can build on, and any areas that might need improvement.  After all, the whole of your degree is about learning and improving, and this gives you a chance to kick-start that process, and to get ready to make the most of your studies.

The following day, you will discover all the services at SOAS available to support you during your time here, as well as having a chance to chat with a current student studying the same degree as you.  On the last day of the course, you'll find out about how to tailor your approach to your degree to get what you want out of it, and how to take the steps that will get you where you want to go in the future - even if you don't know where that is yet!  You'll also have a celebration with the Student Ambassadors, as the perfect way to finish off a fun, exciting and useful week!

Are there any eligibility criteria?

Yes, there are a number of criteria.  In order to be eligible to attend the Bridging Course, you must:

  • Be normally resident in the UK
  • Be progressing onto an undergraduate degree at SOAS

And also fulfil one or both of the following criteria:

  • Have attended a state school or college in the UK and be the first generation in your family to progress to higher education


  • Live in an area identified by HEFCE as a 'Low Participation Neighbourhood'*

These criteria exist because we recognise that students who are the first generation in their family to go to university, or who grew up in areas where few people progress to university, are less likely to have had access to the kinds of informal networks of information, advice and guidance that may support other students in the transition to life and study at university.

If you are interested in support with the transition to university but do not fulfil the above criteria, a full programme of open access activities will be available to you during Welcome Week - and throughout your time at SOAS.  For further information, please see the Welcome Week and Study Skills webpages.

How can I reserve a place?

All students who potentially fulfil the above criteria (according to information from their UCAS application) will be contacted in June with further information and a Register of Interest form.

To reserve your place, please return the Register of Interest form as soon as possible - places at limited and therefore offered on a first-come first-served basis.

The Bridging Course is non-residential.  If you wish to stay in student accommodation for the duration of the course, you will need to contact Sanctuary Students; please visit Summer Accommodation for further information.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

Enquiries should be directed to:

Sarah Tucker

* "Low Participation Neighbourhoods" are areas identified by the Higher Education Funding Council for England using data of the participation rate of young people in higher education by ward or region.  This information is automatically supplied with UCAS applications.