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Reach for Excellence

What is Reach for Excellence?

Reach for Excellence (RfE) is the flagship widening participation scheme at the University of Leeds. Now entering our 16th year, we have a successful track record in supporting and stretching students with the potential to gain a place at a research intensive university, but who may not have considered it (or who may perceive barriers to entry). RfE provides support which extends beyond admissions, into Higher Education and professional life.

RfE participants taking part on one of our taster sessions.
RfE participants taking part on one of our experience days.

What will you do on Reach for Excellence?

We provide impartial guidance and wide-ranging support for participants alongside their studies in Year 12 and Year 13, which can boost attainment at this level in addition to preparing them for independent study at university. Students who engage with the programme are invited to participate in a wide range activities, including:

Focused academic taster sessions across all university faculties

University lecture “drop-ins” with tailored pre- and post-lecture support

An opportunity to apply for vocational RfE strands with tailored events in Medicine, Dentistry, and Healthcare

Access to a bespoke academic study and research skills programme

Access to an online reflective learning tool to support individual development

“Get Set for Uni” – practical sessions covering all aspects of preparing for university, from choosing courses to working out how to manage a student budget

Finance and scholarships advice and guidance

UCAS application support and guidance

Individual UCAS personal statement surgeries

Career information “Enrichment” activities designed to combine areas of academic interest, career exploration, and cultural experiences

Flagship RfE Summer School – an intensive, 5 day residential experience


RfE participants presenting on one of our Enterprise days.
A University Lecturer presenting to RfE participants on creating a brilliant UCAS personal statement.


Our aim is for students to graduate from RfE with greater confidence in their abilities, skills and resilience, ready to hit the ground running at university.

Most events take place at the University of Leeds campus during school holidays to minimise curricular disruption while encouraging independent study habits.

Recruitment opens for students in Year 12 in September of each academic year, with a mid-November deadline. Students apply with references from a teacher or appropriate alternative.

RfE participants taking part on a C.V building exercise.
A RfE participant engaged in a practical session hosted by the Dentistry department at the University of Leeds.