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Academic Development Directorate

Mature Students Bridging Course

One of SOAS’ key strengths is its diverse student body. There are a high proportion of mature students (around 20%) on undergraduate programmes at SOAS, some of whom come from Access courses and many who have been away from any form of education for some time.

At SOAS we recognise the importance of supporting mature students through this transition and provide a free week-long course designed to enable students to make a flying start to university study. The Bridging Course is for UK-resident applicants who will be 21 or over at the start of their course, and who have a firm offer for an undergraduate course at SOAS.  It will take place on 14th - 18th September 2015.

The course will include:

  • Academic lectures given by SOAS staff
  • Study skills workshops
  • Personal skills sessions
  • Working with current students
  • Help with writing a first-year level essay - to be marked at the end of the week!

Previous participants have said:

"The study skills session were very helpful and inspiring...The student ambassadors were very informative and it's nice to speak to people who are more experienced and know what you are going through."

"Lectures were fantastic as it felt like a taste of things to come. It was very helpful in that it allowed us to practically apply what we had learned in a study skills session... The Q&A with student ambassadors was also helpful."

"It was good to meet new people and get a feel for the university environment. Preparing for and submitting the essay assignment was definitely useful. It was a nice mixture of stress and joy!"

Further information

The course involves lectures by SOAS academic staff who will also set an essay topic; this will give you the opportunity to prepare and write a first year essay and receive some feedback on your work.  You will have access to our computers, the library and both campuses during the week to ensure that you will be familiar with everything before the start of your degree. You will also be given advice on study skills and attend personal skills development sessions. There will be plenty of people that you can talk to about student services at SOAS, and current mature students will be on hand to help you throughout the week. The Bridging Course closes with a social event on the Friday in the Student Union Bar.

SOAS Bridging Course... What is it like?

Throughout the week you will benefit from Study Skills sessions that will help you to identify your strengths as an adult learner, master note-taking in lectures, develop your 'reading for study' skills, and improve your essay writing. Student Services also run a session that offers advice on time and stress management.

A SOAS lecturer will deliver three lectures to the group, and this will form the basis of the essay you will write later on in the week. This is nothing to panic about, see it as good practice for the real deal! Having gone through the essay writing and submission process, each person is given feedback on their essay and pointers for improvement.

There will also be campus tours, an introduction to the Careers Service, and a Question Time panel with current mature students.

All week you will have access to Student Ambassadors who will be on hand to answer any questions you have, and provide general support when you want it.

Eligibility criteria

We recognise that students who are returning to full-time education after a significant absence are less likely to have had access to the kind of informal networks of information, advice and guidance that may support other students in the transition to life and study at university.

Therefore, to be eligible to attend the Bridging Course for Mature Students you must:

  • Be normally resident in the UK
  • Be progressing onto an undergraduate degree at SOAS
  • Be aged 21 or over at the start of your degree

And also fulfil one or both of the following criteria:

  • Have previously attended a state school or college in the UK


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

Please note that if you are interested in support with the transition to university but do not fulfil the above criteria to attend, a full programme of open access activities will be available to you during Welcome Week (22nd - 26th September)

How to reserve your place

All students who potentially fulfil the above criteria according to information supplied with 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, as places are limited and therefore offered on a first-come first-served basis.  Attendance on the course is not compulsory of part of your degree.

Please note that the Bridging Course is non-residential. If you wish to stay in student accommodation you will need to contact Sanctuary Students; please visit Summer Accommodation for further information.

Enquiries should be directed to:

China Anya 

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