Talented school pupils are to be offered support by the University of Strathclyde in achieving their goal of entering higher education.
Eighteen young people have been identified by the University for the Young Strathclyders programme, which will provide specifically tailored, one-to-one support in the process of studying for, and applying to, higher education.
The S5 and S6 pupils are from 12 schools in the West of Scotland with historically low participation rates in higher education. They were chosen from the participants in two annual school outreach programmes at Strathclyde - the Scottish Space School and the Accelerate Challenge.
Dr Stephanie McKendry, Widening Access Manager at Strathclyde, said: "Strathclyde is committed to widening participation and to ensuring that ability, rather than economic or social circumstances, determines access to higher education.
"We have seen many gifted pupils both at the Scottish Space School and in the Accelerate Challenge. Those who have been identified to be Young Strathclyders have shown particular promise or interest in a subject offered at Strathclyde.
"To help them make the most of their potential, and to give them a taste of the student experience, they will be matched with a student mentor, given access to a version of the student card and access to the library and other facilities. They'll also receive support tailored to them to assist them in their final year of school, to gain work experience and to complete the application process for university."
Pupils will mainly be participating in the Young Strathclyders programme outwith school hours. They will complete assessed academic work, equivalent to first year university study, in their relevant subject area and will take part in social and academic activities with their fellow Young Strathclyders.
The pilot programme has received £12,500 from Strathclyde's Alumni Fund, which supports, through donations from former students, scholarships, the University library, international study and development, sports clubs and student-led projects.
The schools attended by the participating pupils are: Knightswood Secondary; Castlemilk High; Springburn Academy; Hillpark Secondary; Lourdes Secondary; Smithycroft Secondary; All Saints Secondary; St Andrews Academy, Paisley; St Paul's High; Lochend Community High; Whitehill Secondary and Larkhall Academy.
The Young Strathclyders programme addresses the recommendations of the Scottish Government's Commission on Widening Access that "universities and colleges should increase engagement with our youngest children and their families as part of the provision of a coordinated package of support for those in our most deprived communities"; and that "universities, working with schools, should take greater responsibility for the development of the pool of applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds by delivering academically based programmes to support highly able learners, who are at risk of not fulfilling their academic potential."