Completely free for schools, colleges and students, Join the Dots works with universities to develop a network of support for students during the transition to university.

Why Join the Dots?

Disadvantage does not disappear when students walk through the doors of their university. In recent years, 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, is a free initiative that 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 Join the Dots to any Year 12 or 13 students, focusing on those who meet targeting criteria. Students take part in a series of university preparation activities, called UniPrep, delivered through self-paced and live sessions.

Students that sign up for Join the Dots will have the chance to win £1,000 towards their university journey (terms and conditions apply).

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-months 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 2023-24 year of Join the Dots here.

Schools and Colleges

Register your school or college for Join the Dots – it will take no more than a minute to complete the form and we will send you everything you’ll need to share with your students.

All we ask is that you:

  • promote the programme to your Year 12 and 13 students.
  • encourage them to take part in our UniPrep sessions


Participation is fully-funded and therefore free for students, schools and colleges.


Find out more and get involved!

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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.

School FAQs

How does registration work?

All schools need to do is complete our short registration form, and we’ll send them all the information they need to share with their students.

All we ask is that schools:

  • promote the programme to your Year 12 and 13 students.
  • encourage them to take part in our UniPrep sessions.

What commitment is involved from schools and colleges?

Schools and colleges will be asked to share information on the programme with their Year 12 and 13. Schools and colleges will be asked to facilitate UniPrep sessions by sharing resources with students and by facilitating their attendance at the live sessions.

What are The Brilliant Club’s targeting criteria?

For Join the Dots, we are particularly keen to support students who:

  1. Have previously been eligible for pupil premium funding
  2. Have no parental history of higher education
  3. Live in a postcode that is in the lowest 4 deciles of the IDACI postcode data
  4. Are care experienced
  5. Are young carers
  6. Have refugee and asylum status
  7. Are from Gypsy, Roma or Traveller communities
  8. Have a disability or special educational needs

Which universities are you partnering with?

For 2024/25, we have confirmed partnerships with the University of Bristol; Durham University; University of Essex; Goldsmith’s, University of London; King’s College London; Liverpool John Moores University; and University of Kent. More partners will be announced in due course.

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.

Register your school for FREE today!

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