Next Step York provides talented Year 12 students with the opportunity to participate in a programme of activity that will support their application to a research intensive university like the University of York. 

We welcome students from all backgrounds to apply. We're particularly keen to recruit students from groups that are currently under represented in higher education. We recruit participants from targeted schools and colleges, including those who have taken part in our Shine project in Years 7 to 11.

Students on the Next Step York programme will take part in a series of activities throughout Year 12 and 13. The activities have been carefully developed to help participants reach their full academic potential.

What's involved?

A variety of activities are included in the programme including:

Taking place at the University of York campus, the Next Step York Campus Conference acts as the perfect introduction to the Next Step York programme.

During the day, students will:

  • familiarise themselves with the University of York and its campus
  • gain a good understanding of how the E-mentoring programme works
  • attend an academic session led by a university academic
  • find out more information about the Next Step York programme
  • meet current undergraduate students and other Next Step York participants from around the country. 

E-mentoring gives students the opportunity to talk to a trained University of York student, who will answer questions and insight into university, student life, study skills and much more.

E-mentors will help students:

  • build their confidence
  • develop valuable skills
  • learn about future education and employment options

Students will also be introduced to our employability module YorSkills, an online tool to support students preparing to apply for university courses and jobs.

Next Step York participants attend a five-day residential at the University of York campus.

During the residential, students:

  • stay in university accommodation
  • attend workshops (academic, student life, personal development and skills)
  • meet current students
  • take part in a series of social and cultural activities.

The residential provides a great opportunity to find out more about higher education, student life and applying to university. There are also many opportunities to experience what it's like to be a University of York student and prepare for next steps.

Students who complete all Year 12 components of Next Step York are eligible to apply to be considered for an alternative offer (up to two grades below the typical offer) to study any course at the University of York.

In order to benefit from an alternative offer, students must:

  • select York as their firm choice
  • complete an academic assignment - a 1,500-word essay set by the department that the student has applied to study in.

Students will be matched to a Postgraduate Tutor who will offer academic support and guidance, such as research, essay structure, or referencing. During a two-day summer school, students will:

  • meet their Postgraduate Tutor
  • attend academic workshops
  • have access to our study resources and facilities
  • enjoy a fun evening of activities in the city of York.

The Academic Assignment is a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience of what it would be like to study at university and to develop academic skills.

What do our participants think?

"The process of applying to university no longer seems as daunting as I previously thought."

"I was anxious about meeting new people but Next Step York has made me feel better about it. It also gave me the motivation to do well in my A-levels and to revise."

"Next Step York has given me the confidence to apply to a top university."

“It made me realise that people from all backgrounds can come to university and it’s not just students from well-off backgrounds… it just made me realise that university was an option that I could do.”

Next Step York graduate

“Before coming on the residential, I’d say I was definitely nervous – it was my first university experience. I’d already started coming out of my shell a bit in sixth form, but this was a really good next step for me and definitely prepared me more for going to university”

Next Step York graduate

Watch on YouTube

Rich, Economics and Finance graduate and Next Step York graduate

Rich was one of our fantastic first Next Step York students, he came to study at York and graduated in 2017.

He is now training to be an accountant.

How to apply

Students who have attended a Next Step York information session at their school or college and are considering taking part, can see whether they are able to apply by checking the eligibility criteria and using the postcode checker.

Your school/college must be one of our programme partners for us to accept your application. We are running launches at all our partner schools/colleges between October 2018 and January 2019. Ask your teachers for more information.

To apply, you must:

  • Check your eligibility with the criteria below.
  • Complete the student section of the application form online.
  • Ensure your parent/guardian and In-School Coordinators complete their section of the application as soon as possible, so your application is complete by 23 January 2019.

Please note you must be able to provide a working email for your parent/guardian to apply using the online application form. If you are not able to provide this, please contact us at with your name, school or college and home address to have a paper application form posted to you.

Applications are now closed. Applications for Year 12 students in 2019/2020 will open in October 2019.

View our Widening Participation Privacy Notice (PDF , 451kb) for students participating in one of our WP activities.


To take part in Next Step York you must:

  • Have achieved at least 8 A* - C grades or 9 – 4 grades at GCSE (or equivalent, eg BTEC Certificate) including English Language and Mathematics. This must include a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at A* - B grades or 9 – 6 grades
  • Be a Home/EU registered student

You must then meet TWO OR MORE of the following criteria:

  • Live in a neighbourhood which has a low progression rate to Higher Education. This is defined by home postcode. You can check your postcode below
  • Come from a home where neither parent attended university in the UK or abroad. (We can consider applications from students if a parent/carer is currently studying their first degree or graduated from their first degree within the last 5 years)
  • Be in receipt of, or entitled to, discretionary payments (eg 16-19 bursary, Pupil Premium) at school/college
  • Received, or were entitled to receive, free school meals at secondary school
  • Are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background
  • Have a disability/long term health condition

OR meet either of the following criteria:

  • Have lived, or are living, in local authority care
  • Are a recognised young carer

If you do not meet the criteria but have faced challenges – social, personal or educational – which may have affected your performance in education, your application may still be considered on an individual basis. In this case, a supporting statement must be provided.

The Next Step York Team aim to work with as many students as possible. However, if we receive more applications than we have places available, we will prioritise students who meet the largest number of the criteria outlined above.

If you would like any further information please email

Postcode checker

The postcode checker is used in order to assess whether you meet the Next Step York criteria ‘lives in a neighbourhood with low participation to higher education.’

Invalid postcode.

We don’t recognise that as a UK postcode. Please enter a valid UK postcode.

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We don’t have that postcode on record, are you sure you entered it correctly? If it is correct, then please email for help.

Sorry, you are not eligible to participate.

Thank you for your interest in the Next Step York programme.

You are not eligible to participate in Next Step York based on your postcode. However, you may still be eligible based on other criteria.

You are eligible to participate.

Thank you for your interest in the Next Step York programme.

You are eligible to participate in Next Step York based on your postcode. Before submitting your application read the eligibility criteria.

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Please email for help.