Eligibility and Selection

To be eligible to apply applicants must:

  • Currently be in Year 12 or equivalent (eg S5 in Scotland, Year 13 in Northern Ireland).*
  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded school or college (non-fee paying) in the UK
  • Not hold US citizenship
  • Be from a low- income family (generally, this will mean a household earning £45,000 or less)
  • Be interested in US culture and higher education

*If you’re interested in applying but currently in the year below, sign up here to be reminded when applications open at the end of next year.

Additional criteria: we are looking for applicants who also meet the criteria below. The more of these you meet, the more likely you are to secure a place:

  • Would be the first generation of their family to attend university
  • Have been eligible for free school meals
  • Attend a school or college with a below-average A Level or Higher point score and/or a low rate of progression into higher education
  • Live in a neighbourhood with a low rate of progression into higher education and/or a high level of socio-economic deprivation
  • Have excellent GCSEs or S4 qualifications:
    • England and Northern Ireland: Have achieved at least eight GCSEs at grade A or 7 or above, or near this level
    • Wales: Have achieved at least eight GCSEs at grade A or above, or near this level
    • Scotland: Have achieved at least six B passes at National 5 or above, or near this level

Selection Criteria

Students will complete an online application modelled on the US Common Application and Financial Aid forms. This will help us to conduct a holistic review of your application, and will get students in the mind set of the US admissions process.

We will select students based on similar criteria to what US universities are looking for:

  • Academic performance and potential
  • Extracurricular involvement, including school and community activities, work experience, paid work and other interests
  • Character: Leadership, service, work ethic, enthusiasm, drive to succeed
  • Commitment to the programme through demonstrated interest in US higher education and culture


We consider each student’s achievements in context. If your community, school or background has somehow limited your opportunities, we will take this into account. In the same way, if you have gone to a good school with many opportunities, we want to ensure you have taken advantage of these.

What would make me unsuitable for the US Programme?

In the US, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and law are only offered at the post-graduate level. For students who are confident they want to study medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, the US Programme may not be the best choice for you. For these subjects, most British students find courses in the UK to be shorter and more affordable, and if they are interested in the US they tend to choose to study in the US short-term as part of a UK course or for their post-graduate studies/research. Students interested in law may study a related field at the undergraduate level and then return to the UK to complete a law conversion course, so the programme may still be for them, but they’ll want to consider this before applying.

Applying to US universities is a more in-depth application process than UCAS, so we are looking for academically able students who are committed to putting in the time and effort required to make the most of this great opportunity and are eager to learn about the possibility of studying in the US. In this, applicants will be expected to participate in all elements of the programme. See the format and key dates page for more information

If you are not yet in Year 12, you are a bit ahead of the game for this year’s programme. Please check back later this year to register your interest for the 2020 programme.


Eligibility FAQs

Follow updates on Twitter #SuttonTrustUSA