SOAS University of London

Academic Services: Widening Participation

Mature Students Bridging Course

Are you going to be 21 or over when you start your undergraduate degree at SOAS?

If so, we would like to invite you to attend the SOAS Bridging Course for Mature Students.  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 Monday 16th to Friday 20th September 2019.

Please register here if you’re interested in attending this course. 

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:

"The lectures and seminar are what I enjoyed most about the Bridging Course.  I felt like they gave me an idea of the level of work I would be doing.  I found them very interesting and engaging"

"I enjoyed most having time to reflect on the way I learn and how to improve on weak areas.  Also, experiencing the uni ahead of Freshers Week which has given me the confidence to move into my courses knowing where things are"

"I enjoyed meeting people.  It made me feel like I'm not alone as a mature student, and it was very encouraging to speak with people at a similar place in their life as me and also with similar (or the same) interests"

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 mature 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 be experiencing 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 studying 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 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

These criteria exist because we recognise that students who are returning to full-time education after a significant absence 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 August with further information and a Register of Interest form.

To reserve your place here, please return the Register of Interest form as soon as possible - places are 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.

Online extension

This year, SOAS is delivering a new project to help expand the reach of the Bridging Courses.  We are offering all incoming students who are eligible for the Bridging Courses a SOAS student mentor.  If you sign up to have a mentor, you'll be matched in September with a specific current SOAS student who will give you individual, personalised support through an online mentoring platform. 

Your mentor can help with last-minute preparations before you arrive and help you settle into student life, but they will also check in with you regularly throughout your first term at SOAS.  Having a mentor means that you'll have a consistent source of support and always know where to go for advice and answers.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

Enquiries should be directed to:

Adwoa Darko
Success and Retention Coordinator