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Undergraduate Study


At the University of Cambridge, we welcome applications from all backgrounds. Care leavers and estranged students may have specific concerns when considering or starting university, and it’s important to us they feel supported during this time.

The University has signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant, which commits to the provision of support and opportunities for young people leaving the care system, and the Stand Alone Pledge, demonstrating our commitment to estranged or independent living young adults wishing to pursue Higher Education.

Care leavers

At Cambridge we recognise that any time spent in local authority care can have a significant impact on educational opportunities and outcomes.

  • As someone who has spent time in local authority care, you may be eligible for pre-entry support. Please check The Realise Project for more information on pre-entry support for young people (aged 7-18) in care.
  • If you are an applicant or are thinking of making an application, see the Care leaver applying page for more details on care leaver applications.
  • We also have a travel fund to support young people in care who’d like to attend one of our events in Cambridge to find out more about applying to the University. In addition, care leavers who are invited to attend an interview as part of the application may also be eligible for help with the cost of travelling to interview. Please see the Travel Fund page for further information.
  • If you are offered a place at Cambridge, there’s a range of support available to you – please see the Care Leaver Support page for more information.

Estranged students and young adults

Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Young people in this position often have no contact at all with their family. For more information on why a young person may become estranged, please visit the Stand Alone Pledge website.

  • If you are an applicant or are thinking of making an application to the University, please see our information on applying as an estranged student.
  • As an estranged student at Cambridge, you may be eligible for additional support, similar to the support care leavers receive – see the Care leaver Support page for more information.

Mature students and student parents

If you're aged between 21 and 25 and previously spent time in care, you may be entitled to support if starting education at this stage.

If you left school a while ago and are now considering taking up a higher education course, please refer to our information for mature students.

If you're a student with children you can find details about support available to you on the University Childcare Information Service website including family accommodation, childcare services and finance.

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

Events for care leavers

Contact Us

Advice and support for care leavers and estranged students:

The Realise Team
T 01223 333315