Scores of pupils at schools in South Tyneside have been finding out what life is like at one of the country’s top universities.
More than 100 students from across the borough, including some from St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn and Boldon School, paid a visit to Jesus College at Cambridge University.
The Year 10 and 12 pupils took part in academic and social activities intended to make university life, and the idea of going to Cambridge, more accessible to pupils who might not otherwise have considered it.
After being welcomed to Jesus College, the pupils toured the city with current students and tried taster sessions to find out what lectures and tutorials are really like.
Several current Jesus College students from South Tyneside and Sunderland decided to apply to Cambridge University after taking part in the same scheme in previous years, and they now act as ambassadors to welcome prospective future students.
Robert Carroll, 20, a former St Joseph’s pupil, found out more about Jesus College through its access scheme while in sixth form and now studies physical natural sciences there.
Robert said: “I enjoy talking to prospective students from back home. I’d like to think that I’ve helped encourage applications from such students, and hopefully more can go on to successfully apply to Cambridge or other top universities.”
Ed Penn, schools liaison officer at Jesus College, said: “We run events throughout the year to encourage the best students to apply from across the UK, regardless of school, financial, racial or religious background. Schools and prospective students are always welcome to visit.
“I enjoy showing them the sports and social spaces. University is about more than just studying. It is the best time to pursue all of your interests while meeting great people.”
Adam Stewart, 15, a Boldon School pupil, was one of the visitors this time round.
He said: “It’s been eye-opening. It has shown us a lot about college life and how I can prepare for it.
“I’d like to apply here, probably to study history.”
Durham’s Tom Hogg, a Cambridge Uni student, said: “I remember thinking that Cambridge seemed a bit scary, but actually, the college system means you get loads of support. I hope residential visits encourage loads more people to apply to Cambridge, and to Jesus College in particular.”