Taking Off the Limits

If you’ve followed The Smart Kid long enough, you will know that the desire to see people fulfil their God-given potential is at the very heart of what we do.

Unfulfilled potential is a very unfortunate waste of one’s talents and abilities and it is even more disheartening when a significant part of some communities are trapped in this conundrum. The society as a whole suffers as we fail to benefit from what they would have contributed.

It is why The Smart Kid is particularly determined to support people from socio-economic backgrounds that are less likely to have access to the top universities and leading professions.

We typically approach this from two angles:

Help parents prevent issues from arising in the first instance

Our philosophy is that if you do not want your child to be disadvantaged and/or be part of the negative statistics then you need to set him/her on the path to success from very early on in life – long before formal education starts. It is why we have blogs like Catch them Young, Surely Social Media Has No Impact on Grades and In Search of the Perfect School amongst others. Being prepared and having the right information well ahead rather than last-minute means your child will be well positioned and have a head start as you are able to make the most of what is available. We would rather that you set a child on the right path from the start than be on the back foot, reacting to issues arising or correcting wrong choices made because you didn’t have or didn’t apply the right information.

Support talented young people in pushing back the boundaries

Typically these are already on the right track and have the top grades / predicted top grades but may not have the know-how or enough information to give them an advantage. Our aim is to help them achieve the best that they can and not settle for second best. It is why we shine the spotlight on What Soft Skills are and how to develop them, STEM Careers, Russell Group Universities, Degree Apprenticeships and continue to share the best opportunities for students as we discover them.

There are a number of organisations that run FREE programmes to help improve social mobility. The purpose of the programmes they run is to raise the aspirations of talented young people from minority communities. The expectation is that through coaching, mentoring and focused participation in these schemes, these young talents will begin to see possibilities and will develop the confidence to apply to leading universities and/or choose leading professions.

A brief overview of some of the FREE programmes offered by two of these organisations is provided below:


Founded in 2010.

They have a range of programmes which encourage students in UK state schools to apply to Oxford University. The participants live in an Oxford College or annexe during the period and attend lectures and seminars as well as workshops covering how to apply to Oxford. For the 2019 programme, 40% of UNIQ participants who applied to study at Oxford were offered a place, compared to an average success rate of 20% for UK applicants.

In addition to the residential schemes, they have a digital programme with 1,000 places.

Sutton Trust

Founded in 1997.

They have a broad range of programmes including:

  • Summer schools to 13 leading universities in UK including Oxford and Cambridge
  • US Summer schools - previous ones have included Yale, MIT and Harvard
  • Sutton Scholars in partnership with 5 leading universities including UCL
  • Pathways to leading professions such as Law, Banking & Finance, Medicine
  • Pathways to STEM and Coding & Technology, these are professions which currently have skills shortages
Benefits of the Programmes

Spring/Summer School attendees for both UNIQ and Sutton Trust have a range of positive feedback examples such as how it has:

  • Equipped them with the tools to submit strong applications to competitive courses and universities;
  • Improved their confidence having gained insight into life as a student;
  • Helped them decide if the proposed course of study is right for them.

Sutton Trust’s metrics show that those who have attended their summer schools are four times more likely than their peers to attend a leading university.

Eligibility Criteria

If you’ve read most of our blogs, you’ve probably come across the The Postcode Lottery and if you recall, it spells out how living in certain areas of the country may put your child at a disadvantage. I am very pleased to report that the opposite is the case with these programmes. Having an inner city postcode which always seemed to work against those living in those areas is an advantage this time around! These schemes tend to give preference to high-achieving applicants from the areas with low progression to higher education.

Don’t rule these programmes out because of your postcode though, a large number of applicants are successful every year and not all of them live in the toughest areas, so by all means go for it if you feel that it would help – as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

We have created some cheat sheets for the programmes run by these two organisations. It is for our VIP members and it provides at a glance the key things you need to know about the programmes such as eligibility criteria; details and duration of each programme; 2020 application dates etc. You can print these out and paste them on your wall in a prominent place or near your vision board to keep you and/or your child focused and so you don’t miss the deadlines. If you haven’t yet received your cheat sheets, click here to request a copy.

Finally, if you don’t already follow us on social media you may be missing out on the career opportunities in the leading professions that we often retweet / repost. Follow @thesmartkidinfo on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn today so you can stay informed.

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