The University Preparation Programme

We are proud of our 10 month university preparation programme. This has been carefully designed and curated by experts, and built on decades of experience through our founder and partner, Bonas MacFarlane Tutors, and our broader network.

Our course tutors are all subject specialists and professional tutors, teachers or academics. They are alumni of the UK’s top universities. They give our students tailored, individual advice and ensure that their academic thinking is stretched in every session.

We provide resource where schools cannot, through individual support and high-level group activities, adding challenge and truly stretching our students to the best of their abilities.

Our recent alumni

Some first-hand insight into the Next Step Foundation

What do students do on our course?

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

All students choose core skills development modules related to critical thinking, problem solving or study skills. These are the central component of the course. They allow students to develop the core skills that will be assessed by universities throughout the application process and will prepare the students for a successful university career.

Each module gives students the chance to interact with a tutor in small group seminars. Students’ intellectual intuitions and arguments are challenged on a weekly basis and they are exposed to the academic rigour and agility required at the UK’s best universities.

Extension Reading Series

The breadth of reading that students undertake, and their interaction with that reading, is one of the biggest differentiators for how successful they will be in their application to the UK’s most selective university courses. The Extension Reading Series provides students with a structured way to research their chosen degree subject.

Each week students are provided with a reading, video lecture or podcast in a series that has been carefully curated by academics and subject experts to provide students with a greater understanding of what their degree will entail. It also provides crucial material for personal statements and for interview preparation.

1-1 Personal Statement Support

The personal statement on the UCAS form is a crucial part of students’ university application. Good personal statements produce offers and interviews. On the University Preparation Programme students are provided with 1-1 support by highly experienced, subject specific tutors.

Tutors will provide individual live, written or video feedback on several drafts of students’ personal statement. This will help them to optimise the quality of their statement and effectively communicate their suitability for their chosen course.

Tutor Groups

The students’ personal statement tutor will meet them and the rest of their tutor group regularly throughout the programme. These sessions will review their research of relevant university courses, their reflections upon their weekly extension readings or extension lectures, and the development of their personal statement.

Tutor groups provide students with an opportunity to benchmark their progress and to be inspired by the other talented students from around the country.

Extension Lecture Series

The Extension Lecture Series, hosted at a university campus, gives students unique access to some of the UK’s leading academics, who join us to debate a range of current issues. The panels are inter-disciplinary, giving students the chance to see how different disciplines approach each question. Recent topics have included: Space, Utopias, Consciousness, Brexit, Leadership and Big Data.

The debates are then brought to life in the tutor groups with subject specialists, who challenge them to relate the discussion to their own discipline. The teaching in the seminars replicates the style of learning at top universities. Students can join the lectures in person or listen online.

Personal Statement Course

The programme begins with this course. A strong personal statement is a crucial component of the UCAS application. By the end of the course, students will have a clear understanding of the work that will be required over the following months for them to make the strongest possible university application.

Oxbridge, Medicine and Law

Many of the courses our students apply for require specific expertise and tailored support. Whether preparing for Oxbridge interviews, admissions tests or applying to a university in the United States we make sure that they are in the best position to succeed.

Oxbridge Introduction

The challenge of applying to Oxford and Cambridge is unique. This course provides students with an introduction to the essentials that they need to know about the process, from admissions tests to the collegiate system, and also serves to break down any preconceived ideas about what might be expected of the typical university applicant.

Admissions Preparation

Law, Medicine and most Oxbridge applicants are expected take admissions tests prior to their interview. These are the world’s most demanding pre-university assessments. Bonas MacFarlane has been preparing sixth formers for these tests for twenty five years, providing specialist tutors for every UK course that requires an admissions test.

Interview Preparation

The UK’s most competitive courses and institutions will most likely interview students before making their decision. These interviews can be high stakes, high pressure situations. We teach the students how to prepare for these occasions. They will be coached to understand what admissions tutors are looking for, and they will be taught strategies for dealing with the questions that they may face.

The programme

A 10 month programme designed, curated and delivered by experts

Download an example schedule (please note exact dates and courses change every year)

You don't realise initially but the structure of the programme really is preparing you for what university will be like. It was easy at the time to overlook the importance of the Extension Reading Series or the Lectures but now I am at university, I realise how important it all was.

Mirana, 2017 Scholar
Oriel College, Oxford