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Working with care leaver and estranged students pre-university

We want to attract the most academically able students to our University, regardless of their background. However, we recognise that not all students receive the same level of support, advice and guidance when preparing for, or applying to, university.

The Realise Project's aim is to ensure that care leaver and estranged students are fully supported, and to encourage more young people in care to consider higher education. We also offer a range of opportunities for young people in care to visit the University, to get a taste of what it's like to be a student at Cambridge.

Foster Care Fortnight, 11-24 May 2020

We celebrated Foster Care Fortnight 2020 by releasing some informative resources about how foster carers can support young adults into, and whilst in, Higher Education. We worked collaboratively with NEACO, Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge County Council to create the following videos:

Thank you, Foster Carers, for all you do!

Pre-16 events

Future events are yet to be confirmed but recent events have included:


The Stargazing event is aimed at young people aged 7-14 and consists of the following:

  • Tour and 'Introduction to University' workshop
  • A visit to the Astronomy department to explore the stars
  • University-focused games
  • A meal at a University College

Explore University

Explore University events are for young people from a care background aged 12-15 and are held during the school holidays. Participants visit the University for two days and engage with a range of university-related and subject-specific workshops, and other fun activities such as:

  • Workshops in sciences and arts subjects
  • College Tours
  • Student Life Activities
  • Museum Visits
  • Project Enterprise Lego Task
  • A meal at a University College

SuperStar Workshops

The Realise Team offers a series of one-day workshops, aimed at young people aged 7 to 11. These typically run from 10:00 to 15:30.

Post-16 events

Enrichment events at the University

If you are studying for your post-16 qualifications and are considering applying to a university like Cambridge or would like to find out more about a specific subject, the following events might be for you. For further support on exploring your subject beyond the curriculum, you may wish to refer to our HE+ website:

Further information

To cover the cost of travel to attend events at the University, we offer a Travel Fund to those aged 16 or above, who are currently in local authority care or from a care background. We also have an Interviewee Travel Fund scheme for applicants from a care background who have been invited to interview. See Open Day and Event Travel Fund for more information.

For all other enquiries, please contact the Realise Team (

Subscribe to our mailing list

Sign up to the Realise mailing list to be kept up-to-date with the latest events and opportunities for current University students who identify as care-experienced or estranged. 

Cambridge life as a care leaver/estranged student

Contact Us

Advice and support for care leavers and estranged students:

The Realise Team
T 01223 333315