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We are currently expanding our provisions for the Realise Project, and further updates will be provided as they are available. In the meantime, please contact with any questions.

If you are a care-experienced or estranged student, whether considering Cambridge or currently enrolled, and you have some questions about support available to you, please email

Similarly, if you are a foster carer or social worker and would like to know more about our work, please get in touch via the realise email.

You can also sign up to one of our mailing lists for further news through the links on this page.

Please note, to cover the cost of travel to attend events at the University, we offer a Travel Fund for those aged 16 or above who are currently in local authority care or from a care background. 

Upcoming events

For prospective students

Realise offers guidance and support to students who are considering higher education in general as well as Cambridge specifically.

Students can benefit from academic support events, mentoring, application support, and visit days. All of these are tailored to the needs of care-experienced students. Care leaver students who enrol at the University of Cambridge are entitled to extra funds via the Cambridge Bursary Scheme as well as 365 accommodation.

There are also several free enrichment and support programmes that care-experienced students have priority for when applying:

Apply: Cambridge

This is a programme that offers intensive pre-application support, including interview and assessment practice.

Summer Schools

The Sutton Trust Summer Schools are one-week residential events that allow you to experience Cambridge from both academic and extracurricular perspectives.


This 17-month programme helps prepare you for success with your science, technology, engineering and maths A-Levels.

The Foundation Year at Cambridge

If you want to study courses in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences and circumstances have prevented you from realising your academic potential, this is an opportunity not to miss!

The Cambridge Foundation Year is designed to help you realise your academic potential through a full-time course fully embedded in the University. In order to apply for the Cambridge Foundation Year, you must meet eligibility criteria – if you are care experienced, you will automatically be eligible for this opportunity!

Find out more about the Foundation Year course on our website, read about the next steps in your applicant journey, or sign up to the Foundation Year mailing list.

For any question you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact:

For current students

Realise offers a central point of contact for care-experienced and estranged students who want to understand the supports available to them at the university.

We also provide a listening ear to students who want to voice concerns, frustrations, or just have a chat. Students classed as independent by Student Finance England can also benefit from the enhanced Cambridge Bursary and 365 accommodation.


Realise provides both ad-hoc mentoring as well as structured, regular mentoring for students who feel they would benefit from it. This mentoring comes at no cost to students. You can ask for a mentoring session or a dedicated mentor at any time.

Mentoring can look however you want it to: maybe you would like a one-off session to better understand the university’s supports, or maybe you would like a regular contact to help you settle in Cambridge and support you with life skills. Either way, Realise can provide the type of mentoring that would help you best.

Social opportunities

Care-experienced and estranged students can take part in regular social activities to meet each other and build their social network within the university. Invites to these events come via the Realise mailing list, so make sure to sign up if you aren’t already subscribed.

Providing feedback

Realise moderates a panel of students with lived experience of care and estrangement. The panel provides feedback to the university regarding its supports for care-experienced and estranged students. New members of the panel are always welcome.

Additional supports

Care-experienced and estranged students can consult the Student Support page for an overview of the supports available to them both inside and outside of the university.

For professionals

Realise works with professionals like foster carers, teachers, and social workers to help them understand the supports available at Cambridge.

We welcome questions and opportunities to collaborate. Please feel free to send a message to or sign up to our mailing list.

The University of Cambridge is committed to the support of our care-experienced and estranged students. We are a signatory of the Care Leaver Covenant and the Stand Alone Pledge, and we are working towards the NNECL Quality Mark.

The Realise Project has marked Foster Care Fortnight for successive years, through online webinars and most recently at an in-person conference at Homerton College. Foster carers and their foster children were invited to the college to meet staff and students and hear more about how to access higher education.

Sign up to a Realise mailing list

To be kept up-to-date with the latest Realise events and opportunities, sign up to one of our mailing lists:

Cambridge life as a care leaver/estranged student

Contact Us

Advice and support for care leavers and estranged students:

The Realise Team
T 07720 161797