the Dots

Join the Dots is a programme that supports you during your transition to university.

How does the programme work for a student?

The programme connects you, your school/college and university to support you through the transition into undergraduate study.

The programme begins in Year 13 with online university preparedness sessions – UniPrep.  Once you have signed up, we will send you a password so you can access the UniPrep sessions.

UniPrep will help you with:

  • choosing your course and university
  • writing your personal statement
  • finance and scholarships
  • learning strategies for revision
  • preparing for results day
  • life at university

If you have applied to one of the Join the Dots partner universities, you will be eligible to continue Join the Dots all the way through your first term at university.

By July 2024 you’ll have met with a teacher from your school or college to begin preparing for the transition to university.

Once your place is confirmed at a partner university, you will be matched with a PhD Coach. Coaches are PhD researchers studying at your university, and they will support you to settle in at university and develop the academic skills you need to succeed once there.

Why sign up?

The transition to university can be a big change, and you will be expected to be a more independent learner. You will also need to develop new study skills in order to be successful. Being part of Join the Dots will:

  • Give you access to a series of university preparedness activities and support while you are at school or college.
  • Match you with a PhD Coach who will help you develop key academic skills during your transition to university.
  • Connect you with a community of like-minded learners at your university.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up by clicking the button below – the form will take you no more than two minutes to complete.

I enjoyed meeting my coach, it made me feel more at ease because the coaches were people who have experienced uni themselves.

How much will it cost?

Nothing. Join the Dots is free for students to participate in.

What will be expected of me if I sign up?

Once you are matched with a PhD Coach, we ask that you check your emails regularly and reply to messages from them. Once your sessions are arranged, do your best to attend them and please let them know if you can no longer make a session. Your coach will work with you to decide what you want to cover in the sessions, but if there is something specific, make a note of it and let them know.

Which universities are involved?

Universities for the 2024/25 academic year will be confirmed during this term and we will update this page to show our Join the Dots partners.

For the 2023-24 academic year we are partnering with The University of Bristol, The University of Essex (with priority given to students from Essex), Goldsmiths University of London, The University of Kent, Leeds Trinity University, Liverpool John Moores University, Durham University, The University of Manchester, and The University of Sheffield.

Can I access the UniPrep sessions if I’m not going to one of the participating universities?

Yes!  If you sign up through your school/college or on this page now, you are welcome to access all the UniPrep sessions.

If your school/college is signed up, your teacher will be able to share information with you, or you can access them yourself with the password you will be sent once you have signed up on this page.  If you have any questions just email us at

Am I guaranteed a PhD Coach?

Places are limited at each university. We will do our best to match all students who want to take part, but places will be allocated based on targeting criteria.

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.