A national initiative which brings schools and colleges together with universities to develop a network of support for students during the transition to university.


Find out more and sign up!

School or college?

Express your interest today!

Why Join the Dots?

Disadvantage does not disappear when students walk through the doors of their university. By the end of 2026, we aim to have worked with our partners to support over 10,000 undergraduates to reach their full academic potential. In recent years, a growing body of research has highlighted the inequalities that exist at undergraduate level. Some students are less likely to get good grades in their first year, more likely to drop out before their second year and less likely to graduate with a 1st or 2:1 in their final degree. The attainment gaps we see, even at the most competitive universities, are significant for less advantaged and underrepresented undergraduates. 

Join the Dots, developed in collaboration with the Reach Foundation and the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham, brings together schools and colleges together with universities to support students who are most likely to face barriers during the transition to higher education.

The Programme

Schools and colleges can offer the programme to any Year 13 students, focusing on those who meet targeting criteria. Students take part in a series of university preparation activities, delivered through self-paced and live sessions. The university preparation activities can be shared with Year 12 students as well.

On Results Day students that will be attending one of the programme’s partner universities are matched with a PhD Coach from their university. Each PhD Coach supports up to eight students throughout their first six-month at the university. Through 1-1 and peer group coaching, students develop key university study strategies and be a link for students to access university support as needed. These aim to foster a sense of belonging at university.

You can see the Impact Report from the first year of Join the Dots here.


Participation is free for students, schools and colleges.

The programme has helped me understand what it means to be an independent learner and my coach has given great assistance and feedback on my coursework.

Schools and Colleges

Express your interest in the programme via the button below – it will take no more than a minute to complete the form.

School FAQs

How does sign up work?

Schools and colleges identify students who have applied to one of the partner universities working with The Brilliant Club, and who they believe could benefit from extra support when making the transition to university. 55% of the students signed up at each school or college should meet one of The Brilliant Club’s targeting criteria.

Following this, The Brilliant Club will share the student registration link and students will register themselves for their place on the programme. Their place on the programme will be confirmed once they have had a university place confirmed on Results Day.

What commitment is involved from schools and colleges?

Schools and colleges will be asked to identify eligible students and share information on the programme with them. Schools and colleges will be asked to facilitate the university preparation sessions by sharing resources with students and by facilitating their attendance at the live sessions.

What are The Brilliant Club’s targeting criteria?

  1. Has previously been eligible for pupil premium funding
  2. Has no parental history of higher education
  3. Living in a postcode that is in the lowest 4 deciles of the IDACI postcode data

Which universities are you partnering with?

We will confirm the partner universities for the 2024/25 academic year soon.

How are your PhD Coaches selected and trained?

Our community of more than 1,000 PhD Coaches is what makes The Brilliant Club unique. Our PhD Coaches have either completed or are currently studying for a PhD at a Join the Dots partner university. Students will be matched with a PhD Coach working in their subject area who will support them with study skills and coursework.

Our PhD Coaches complete programme specific training, focused on Coaching and mentoring. Coaches are also introduced to basic tutorial pedagogy such as planning, questioning and assessment; aspects of classroom management; and codes of professional conduct. Our PhD Coaches are required to have a DBS check before they begin work on the programme.

I think Join the Dots has really helped me manage the transition from Year 13 to University by helping me become more independent through self-learning and how to take notes during lectures. The coach is also really friendly and helpful.