Realising Opportunities is a collaboration involving 14 research-intensive universities including York. We're working together to promote fair access and social mobility for students from under-represented groups.

The project supports selected students, in their post-16 studies with skills development and guidance. The programme begins in Year 12 and offers many opportunities to experience university first-hand, as well as allowing students to realise their potential to study at a research intensive university.

Realising Opportunities won the Widening Participation Initiative of the Year at the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards.

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What's involved?

The programme involves an extensive menu of events and activities across the partnership including:

  • Launch event: the programme starts with a launch at the host university, introducing students to the programme and providing an insight into what they can expect. It's also a great opportunity to explore their host university and meet staff and students.
  • National Conference: staff from all participating universities attend the conference enabling students to find out more about all partners, and the opportunities available to them. Students attend information sessions and workshops, meet staff from the Central Team and partner universities as well as other students on the programme.
  • EPQ or Realising Opportunities Academic Assignment
    • The EPQ is a qualification that students complete in school or college. If a student’s school does not offer the EPQ then they can instead take the Realising Opportunities Academic Assignment.
    • The Academic Assignment is a piece of independent research work supported by an academic tutor from their host university. This provides a real experience of higher education, an opportunity to develop academic skills and a greater awareness of what a research-intensive university can offer.
  • The skills4uni online study skills module: this study skills module prepares students for their EPQ or Academic Assignment, as well as supporting their study and transition from school/college to university.

Access to a broad range of university events

Realising Opportunities offers a unique opportunity for students to access information, support, events and activities from all the partners universities across the country. This can also include on-campus masterclasses and summer schools.

Watch our video to find out what some of our participants thought about the programme.

"It has encouraged me to apply for a research-intensive university.  I would not have done so if it wasn't for this programme."

Realising Opportunities participant

Get involved

To take part students must be in Year 12 at an eligible school or college which is participating in the programme. Students will also need to meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more about how to take part (

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Realising Opportunities

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