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For more info contact:

Telephone: 01223 333313
Fax: 01223 333179

Access Officer,
Cambridge University Students' Union
17 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RX

CUSU Shadowing Scheme

Cambridge University Students' Union logo

The CUSU Shadowing Scheme brings UK students from schools without a tradition of top university entry to Cambridge for three days in January or February. Prospective students come to Cambridge on the Thursday afternoon and stay until Saturday lunchtime. In that time you will spend time with a current undergraduate, studying a subject that you are interested in, who you 'shadow'.

As a shadow, you'll see everything students can get up to on a day-to-day basis: lectures, supervisions, getting involved with student societies, clubs and sports teams, going shopping, socialising and so on. You will also be given a lot of information about the applications process by both students and Admissions Tutors. The scheme is open to Year 12 (England and Wales)/ S5 (Scotland)/ Year 13 (NI) students.

For the last three years (2014 - 2016), the Scheme has been also open to mature student applicants, i.e. those who will be 21 or over at the time they start their course. After the last two years' success, we expect that this 'mature strand' will continue to take place and hopefully grow even bigger! Are you a potential mature student and interested in coming on the Scheme? Check out our 2015 mature student participant Dennis' diary from the Scheme.

The idea is to give people with little or no experience of university a taste of student life at Cambridge, in real time, with real people. The whole trip is funded by CUSU, the University, and the Colleges – all accommodation and food is free, and travel costs to and from Cambridge may be reimbursed, on a needs basis.

The Shadowing Scheme is specifically for students with little or no family experience of university, students who have great reservations about applying to Cambridge or students whose school rarely sends students to University.

The Scheme is really competitive; we receive more applications than places. As such, we ask that standard-age applicants are on track to achieve As in your A Levels (or equivalent).

If you already know that you want to apply to Cambridge or Oxford, or you have friends or relatives who have studied at Cambridge or Oxford, please come on an Open Day instead.

The 2016 Shadowing Scheme took place on:

  • Thursday 21 - Saturday 23 January 2016
  • Thursday 28 January - Saturday 30 January 2016
  • Thursday 4 - Saturday 6 February 2016 (also open to mature student applicants)

NB: Those on the Shadowing Scheme must accept the Code of Conduct.

The 2016 Shadowing Scheme has taken place. Applications for the 2017 Scheme will open later this year.

Questions or problems?

If you have any questions about the Shadowing Scheme, please contact the CUSU Access Officer via

Check out the CUSU Access Twitter for updates too! @cusuaccess

Shadows' diaries

Here are the entries from our Shadowing Scheme Diary Competition, submitted by students who participated in the 2015 scheme. Well done to all who took part!

Harriet's Diary (the winner!)

Alyssa's Diary (the runner up!)

Gigi's Diary

Hannah's Diary

Rebecca's Diary

Samira K's Diary

Samira M's Diary

Sapphire's Diary

Shadows' photos

Here are the entries from our Shadowing Scheme Photo Competition, submitted by students who participated in the 2015 Scheme. Well done to all who took part!

Shadowing Scheme 2015 Photography Competition