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Year 12 student Jake Turner has been trying out life as a Cambridge undergraduate, as one of 420 participants in the 2015 Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) Shadowing Scheme.

Organised annually by CUSU, the scheme aims to give bright young people from non-university backgrounds the opportunity to experience life at a top university.

Jake studies at Bungay High School Sixth Form. At Cambridge he teamed up with a student from Jesus College, attending lectures, supervisions, practical’s and social events, for a taste of what undergraduate life at the University is really like.

Jake who is interested in studying Natural Sciences (Physics) at university, said that his experience as a shadow really reinforced his ambitions to apply and attend Cambridge university. The shadowing scheme also helped to consider which of the 29 colleges to apply to as they are all so different..

Helena Blair, Access Officer for CUSU and one of the organisers of this year’s scheme, explains:

“The Shadowing Scheme gives bright students from state schools the chance to experience university life, and really helps to break down the myths surrounding Cambridge.

“We know that some students may be put off applying to Cambridge by misconceptions and negative stereotypes, while others just may not have considered Cambridge or Higher Education as a viable option at all.

“There’s no better insight into being at University than shadowing a student for a few days during term-time, and we hope the experience students like Jake get from the Shadowing Scheme will help them to make an informed choice about their options post-sixth-form.”

This year’s Shadowing Scheme was the biggest yet, with priority for places given to young people with a strong academic track record, but who attend schools with little experience of sending students to Cambridge or Oxford, and who have few family members with experience of Higher Education.

‘Shadows’ stay in a Cambridge college, attend lectures with their undergraduate mentors, and try out social activities with the University’s student societies. Cambridge’s 700 societies cover almost every interest, from journalism to American football, and theatre to debating.