University Admissions Consulting

Comprehensive university preparation, advice and support

Bonas MacFarlane’s university admissions consulting provides comprehensive university preparation, advice and support that draws on over twenty five years’ experience as pioneers in the field of independent education services.

We have helped students from across the world to secure places at Oxbridge, Ivy League, Russell Group and many more of the world’s leading higher education institutions. Our work is entirely bespoke and we firmly believe in finding the right course and university for each student, not simply the most prestigious.

Our support follows a three step process of Discovery, Preparation and Application, ensuring that students are empowered to make the best choices, build the strongest portfolios and submit the most comprehensive applications in what has become a fiercely competitive field. We are non-selective and work with students of all abilities and academic backgrounds.

We work with clients from across the world, applying to English speaking courses internationally, and bring years of experience to the sensitivities this can require. We also support students who are managing concurrent applications to UK, US, European or other international universities, in the same application cycle.

Students graduating

The transition from school to university is one of the defining moments in a young person’s life. Through each bespoke university preparation programme we design, we are with our clients every step of the way.

Our Services

Over 25 years helping students secure places at the world’s leading higher education institutions



Support with college selection, course choice, building an academic portfolio in your subject, speaking and debating skills, UCAS personal statements, teacher references, entrance tests and interview preparation.

We have been helping students secure places at Oxford and Cambridge for over 25 years. The entrance test and interview process is rigorous and requires independent thought, intellectual flexibility and a serious commitment to further reading in a chosen subject. Our consultants bring first-hand knowledge of the Oxbridge system, with many having supervised undergraduates themselves, recreating the scrutiny of an Oxbridge tutorial in their lessons.

US Colleges

Support with college choices, building an extra-curricular portfolio, developing reflective writing skills, advice on SAT/ACT preparation, guidance on the Common App, Common App and personal essays, interviews, teacher recommendation letters and managing concurrent UK/US applications

Bonas MacFarlane was the first UK consultancy to integrate US applications into its services nearly 25 years ago. The focus of US applications is on the individual, their personal growth and how they would contribute to a college community. Crafting a successful application begins months or even years before submission and we bring deep expertise to a process that demands the holistic development of a student both in and out of their school environment.


UK Universities

Support with university and course choices, building an academic portfolio in your subject, UCAS personal statements, teacher references and applications to Foundation Courses and Private Universities.

UK universities are highly academic in focus and we help students develop evidence of their scholarly potential beyond their curriculum at school as a key differentiator in an increasingly contested environment.

We also offer targeted support for Law, Medicine and Engineering applications and preparation for entrance tests including the LNAT, BMAT, GAMSAT, UCAT, MAT, STEP and IC Aera/EEE MAT and associated interviews.

European Universities

Support with English speaking courses at leading European universities, application statements, teacher references, visa requirements and interviews.

Cities such as Milan, Madrid, Amsterdam and Maastricht boast universities with world class undergraduate degrees taught in English. Each application process is different, with varying weight given to particular attributes at each combined with a range of specific deadlines spread across the year. We send students in ever greater numbers to these courses, a testament to their innovative approaches and cosmopolitan outlooks.


GCSE, A Level and IB Subject Choices

Advice on required subjects and preferred subjects for particular degrees, on assembling the strongest subject combinations at GCSE, A Level and IB and on the pros and cons of the A Level and IB examinations, especially in the context of the UK and US university systems.

The application process begins with the subject choices made in Year 9 and Year 11, with decisions on the paths to choose being the necessary springboard to successful applications, long before the applications themselves are submitted in Year 13.


Discovery, Preparation, Application

Our support follows a three step process



Finding the path that is right for you. This involves gathering the best options, challenging preconceptions, exploring what studying a subject is really like, considering potential career options and postgraduate pathways, weighing personal preferences such as a city or campus university, traditional or progressive curriculums, proximity to home and the balancing of aspirational choices with solid or safe options in light of your school grades. An undergraduate degree is a major commitment of time and money.

Making the right choices at the start gives the best foundation for a happy and successful student experience.



Building the right portfolio for your chosen path. The strongest applications will offer hard evidence of your commitment to your chosen courses. UK Admissions tutors want to see your engagement with a subject beyond the school curriculum through further reading, independent research, summer courses, work shadowing, voluntary work, engagement with school or local societies and entries into academic prizes and competitions.

US admissions tutors want to see evidence of who you are as an individual through participation in extracurricular activities such as sport, music or drama, in school and community projects, travel and physical endeavours, volunteering, entrepreneurship or other activities that show your growth as an individual.

Planning and developing the right portfolio for your chosen courses is what provides the substance of an outstanding application.



Bringing everything together. How do you present your achievements in the most effective way. How do you write and speak reflectively in application statements and interviews. How do you know what information to prioritise in each application.

Personal Statements and college essays need to go through multiple drafts. Entrance tests and interviews need targeted preparation over time. Teacher references, school transcripts, accompanying paperwork such as visas and English language tests must be assembled carefully. Deadlines must be kept.

Ensuring all the best information about an applicant is presented in the most compelling and effective way gives a student the best chance of securing the offers they are after.

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