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I couldn't recommend it more! Abby Gregory, second year Primary Education with QTS student
This event is amazing as it truly shows how dedicated the team at St Mary's are and how much they care for their students. Thank you again and I can’t wait to begin my 3 year journey at St Mary's
Anonymous, Get Set attendee 2020

Student ambassador pointingPlease note: Get Set for Success and Get Set Mentoring are offered to select students only. To find out if you are eligible to apply, please see Who is Invited and Why.

First established in 2012, Get Set for Success (GSFS) is a yearly event held shortly before Freshers’ Week and main induction, designed to settle you in a bit with a ‘head start’ before everyone arrives and things get very busy!

The programme features a variety of sessions and activities to provide you with key information. It will help you to get to know the University and the support we can offer you — you will meet a lot of friendly faces across the staff team! — and it will also give you a chance to meet and get to know each other a little before term starts*.

Get Set for Success 2023 will be held Wednesday 30th August - Friday 1st September 2023. It is set to include lots of exciting elements, from workshops on academic skills, joining societies and making friends, to inspirational speakers to get you excited for your next steps with us, fun icebreakers and competitions, and opportunities to meet 1-2-1 with different support services. You will also get to have a cup of tea with some of your programme team, so you can meet your lecturers and some of your classmates too!

Whether you intend to come to Get Set or not, make sure you check out the University Advice Videos recorded by current students for some great tips!

*Please note: while the majority of programmes will start late September this year, some dates do vary from programme to programme.

Have a question?

You can get in touch with us by emailling

Research into student access, retention and success has suggested that people in certain categories benefit from the opportunity to undertake short programmes or events before entering university.

These categories include students with academic backgrounds other than A levels, students with disabilities, care leavers and students from neighbourhoods where a small proportion of people go to university. Therefore, we invite students where one or more of these categories applies.

The programme is designed to enhance your understanding of the expectations of university level study, mainly for students going into university for the first time and to increase your confidence with regards to going to university.

Every year, we invite selected students to attend, but this year for the first time, we would like to provide all prospective undergraduate (Level 4) home students* with the opportunity to opt-in, if you feel that you would benefit from this extra support.    

We especially invite expressions of interest from students in the following groups:     

  • Students who have previously been eligible for free school meals 
  • First generation students (the first in family to go to university) 
  • Estranged students (students no longer in contact with their families) 
  • Care experienced students (students who have spent some time in local authority care)
  • Young carers 
  • Students from Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller (GRT) backgrounds 
  • Students with academic qualifications other than A-levels (BTEC, diploma, etc.) 
  • Refugees and asylum seekers   

If you feel that Get Set for Success would be of benefit to you, please fill in the expression of interest form, or you can send an enquiry to    

Register your interest

Please note: places are limited, so we cannot guarantee spots to all applicants, as the programme is overbooked every year. We will review expressions of interest in June/July and Get Set is currently due to take place with both online and face-to-face elements, w/c 5th September (though these details may be subject to change).

*Get Set for Success is unfortunately not available to international students and is on offer only to Level 4 students (students starting the first year of their undergraduate degree programmes). International students will receive transitional support from the international team ( 

If you feel this programme would be of benefit to you, we encourage you to apply quickly as we have limited numbers for how many students we can accommodate!

When and where is Get Set for Success?

We are hoping to run a blended (a mixture of online, and face-to-face elements) version of Get Set for Success this year and are making plans for early September. For online elements, we will predominantly use Zoom, and full instructions will be sent to attendees in advance of the event.

COVID-permitting, we hope to offer overnight stays on campus for our Get Setters so you can immerse yourself in the St Mary’s environment from the outset!

Students by the running track

All students who are invited to GSFS are also invited to apply for the Get Set Mentoring scheme. Students may partake in both, or just one of these options, as desired – but we recommend signing up for both for the full experience. Get Set Mentoring pairs you up with a current St Mary’s student who will be your online ‘buddy’.

With Get Set Mentoring, you will be able to chat with them through the fully secure Brightside messaging platform, which we will teach you how to use (it’s very simple – a bit like texting or Facebook Messenger!).

It meant so much that there were people who cared about how I was doing before I even knew anyone. Get Set Mentoring mentee, 2019

You will start chatting in August so you can discuss any questions or concerns you might have in the weeks leading up to University and you will stay in contact for the first few weeks of term as well, so you’re fully supported as you transition into university.

Your buddy will have a range of topics they will tell you a bit about over the weeks (e.g. how can you get involved in the union, sign up for societies, learn more about social events and various support available to you, etc.) but they are also there just to have a friendly chat and to answer any more general questions you might have about coming to St Mary’s and anything you’re uncertain about.

How much is it?

GSFS and the Get Set Mentoring opportunities are both entirely free to you.

How do I apply?

If you do not receive a postcard, but feel strongly that you would benefit from this programme due to one of the reasons provided above (e.g. you are the first in your family to go to university, you are an estranged student, etc) you can email us outlining why you think you are eligible for and would benefit for this programme at

Do I have to do both the Get Set Mentoring and Get Set for Success?

No. You can apply to do just one if you prefer.

Can I apply if I was not invited by post?

You cannot apply directly, but you can email us at (please see above). If you are deemed eligible, you will be sent a link to register for a place on Get Set for Success. Please bear in mind that when eligible students apply, we operate on a first-come-first-served basis so we:

  • encourage you apply as soon as you are sent the application 
  • ask that you only apply to take a space if you are certain you will be able to attend (when you are sent the application form link you will be given more information on exact dates and details).

Click here to see the programmes from 2020 and 2021

GSFS 2020 Digital Programme

GSFS 2021 Digital Programme


What do our staff and students say about Get Set for Success?

GSFS is a well-valued programme that has received consistently positive feedback over the years.

Get Set is one of my favourite parts of the job. I think it genuinely makes a difference and makes that transition to University a lot less intimating overall. Students can start term knowing a fair bit already, feeling like they have a head start, and often knowing a few friendly faces about the place. I’ve had some students tell me they met their best friends at Get Set and are still in touch several years later. Dr Elizabeth Parker, Student Engagement Officer
Get Set for Success equipped me with a head start on information that I have needed throughout university, it also allowed me to make friends and familiarise faces before I started at the university. Some of the friends I made at Get Set have remained my friends throughout the last couple of years since the program. Finally, it reassured me that I wasn't alone in any concerns I had about university and made me look forward to university so much more than before the program. I couldn't recommend it more!
Abby Gregory, second year Primary Education with QTS student
I found Get Set a great way to meet new people, prepare for uni & get to know my way around the campus before the semester started. It made my first day less daunting and meant I knew a few familiar faces.
Pippy Hull-Octave, second year Communications, Design and Marketing student
Get Set for Success is a great programme that gives you a “pre-university warm-up” and an exclusive and first-hand experience before all other students.
Ahmed El-Hana, second year Sport Rehabilitation Student
I have been involved with Get Set for Success for many years now and have absolutely loved watching it go from strength to strength. It is truly one of the most joyous events of the year; seeing new students arrive, grow in confidence and make new friendships (some of which last throughout their time with us and beyond). One of my favourite things is the way students develop over the years and I always have a little moment of pride when students I first met at Get Set cross the stage at graduation! Like many things, Get Set for Success is going to be a little bit different this year, but an amazing programme of events has been developed and I have no doubt at all it will be another hugely successful event. We can’t wait to meet you! Nikki Anghileri, Head of Widening Participation

‘Here’s what previous Get Set students have said:

  • "The best part was meeting people and making new friends and knowing how university will be like."
  • "I felt really welcomed and learnt a lot."
  • "It was good to see that other students had the same worries that I do, especially with things like money and stuff. It made me feel less alone."
  • "I loved the session with careers and it’s great to know they’re there."
  • "Learning about time management was really useful."
  • "I really liked meeting the Student Ambassadors. It was good hearing from the students already at St Mary’s what it’s like."
  • "I feel like I have clarity for the next few weeks."
  • "Hearing about other people’s experiences made me feel more confident."
  • "‘I just wanted to say thank you very much for this week, it has been an eye opener and it has really cleared up some of my worries and concerns about starting Uni."