Mentorship Schemes and Open Days

This is a page about all the ways you can get an insight into Oxford and Cambridge before you apply.

Open Days

These are a great chance to find out about different Colleges and the Universities as a whole.

Cambridge Virtual Open Days πŸ”— 🌟 The next Virtual Open Days will be held on 7th and 8th September 2022! You can sign up to the newsletter here πŸ”— to be notified with more information nearer the time.

Cambridge Virtual Tour website πŸ”— 🌟 As part of the Virtual Open Days in July 2020 and 2021, the different colleges and departments contributed to creating a virtual tour website. This is still available online, so you can explore photos, videos and articles written by current students.

Cambridge College Open Days πŸ”— College open days give you the opportunity to get a sense of what college life is like. This year, some colleges will be hosting webinars with admissions tutors.

Oxford Virtual Open Day πŸ”— 🌟 Oxford hosted Virtual Open Days in June/July 2021, but lots of the resources remain available on their website. This will include content from many different colleges and departments, as well as information about admissions, student life and a range of student services.

Oxford Virtual Tours πŸ”— These 360Β° views cover facilities such as the dining hall, library, JCR (common room), chapel, as well as an example of a student room, garden or quad, and the porters’ lodge.


Project Access πŸ”— Project Access is an organisation not affiliated with the university that offers free support to applicants from certain backgrounds (comprehensive schools, low income families, working class, first generation to attend university, BME students). They offer a tailored mentoring system where Cambridge students guide you through the application process.

Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme by Insight Outreach πŸ”— 🌟 A free academic mentoring programme which matches high achieving Year 12 students, from backgrounds that are underrepresented at Oxbridge, with past and present Oxbridge students. The scheme runs from March of Year 12 to December of Year 13. The programme gives support on everything from college choice to personal statements to mock interviews. You can register your interest for the 2022 scheme now.

Target Oxbridge πŸ”— A free mentoring programme that helps applicants of black African and Caribbean heritage through the Oxbridge application process by pairing them up with current or recently graduated students. Since launching in 2012, Target Oxbridge has helped 81 students to secure Oxbridge offers. The programme is open to UK-based students in Year 12 (as well as, in certain circumstances, Year 13).

Zero Gravity πŸ”— 🌟 A new scheme designed to pair undergraduate students with secondary-school students applying to top universities. Students applying to the scheme choose a mentor, and mentoring takes place over weekly one-hour Zoom calls.

UniPear πŸ”— Also a mentoring scheme which pairs undergraduates with school students applying to university.

Insights into Oxford and Cambridge

Insight Cambridge πŸ”— This is an academic programme aiming to develop your academic interests and tackle barriers students might face when applying to university.

Cambridge: The Subject Matters πŸ”— 🌟 Sessions where experienced Admissions Tutors can give you key advice about making informed A Level (or equivalent) subject choices. You’ll also be able to participate in academic taster sessions in either the Arts and Humanities or the Sciences and ask current undergraduates questions.

Target Schools πŸ”— If you want a Cambridge student to come and speak to your school, your teacher can request one through this Cambridge initiative. It's good to meet students in person because it's the best time to grill them on their thoughts about Cambridge.

Cambridge Subject Master Classes πŸ”— 🌟 Subject Masterclasses allow students to experience typical undergraduate teaching at the University of Cambridge. Booking is essential and is open to individuals at a cost of Β£20 (to cover event costs). Funded places are available for anyone eligible for Free School Meals and for children in care!

Higher education fairs πŸ”— Both Oxford and Cambridge are represented throughout the year at regional higher education (HE) fairs and UCAS Conventions across the UK. Representatives will be happy to chat with you and answer any queries you, your parents and your teachers/careers advisers may have about applying to and studying at the University.

Cambridge Science Festival πŸ”— - The Science Festival happens yearly and provides opportunities to go to talks, film screenings and engage with issues of scientific interest. This is especially great if you’re considering a career science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

St John's College, Oxford: Year 12 Study Days πŸ”— 🌟 Participants attend talks and workshops led by tutors; find out more about the course at Oxford and what tutors are looking for; and meet current St John's students.


Sutton Trust Summer Schools πŸ”— 🌟 The Summer Schools programme includes a wide variety of courses in Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. They are designed to provide an insight into what studying at university is like and what the University can offer.

Applications for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools are now closed for 2021​ but register your interest for 2022 Sutton Trust Summer Schools to be alerted when applications for the Summer Schools open.

CUSU Shadowing Scheme πŸ”— 🌟 The Cambridge Students Union offer potential applicants the chance to spend a few days with current students in January. Applications open in August, the scheme is targeted at students from state schools.

CamSpire πŸ”— This programme is also run by the Cambridge Students Union to inspire young Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Arab (BPA) students to apply to selective universities. The programme will allow you to experience both the academic and social life here at Cambridge, as well as alleviate any potential concerns you may have, with students who were in your position in the past. The programme runs over the course of 18 months, from Spring of Year 11 (or equivalent) to Autumn of Year 13 (or equivalent), and includes three trips to Cambridge; a residential event in Years 11 and 12, followed by an interview workshop in Year 13. These will be run by current BPA students. Between these visits, participants will have access to online mentoring with current students studying the same subjects, with most from a BPA background. You will also have access to some online webinars and vlogs.

Oxford UNIQ πŸ”— 🌟 A scheme set up by the University of Oxford. The course lasts 5 days and gives students a chance to live in a college and experience Oxford-style learning.

Magdalene College, Cambridge residential πŸ”— 🌟 Applications are open to any state school student in Year 12 who either lives, or is studying at a school, in Magdalene College's Link Areas of Merseyside, North Wales, Ceredigion and the Isle of Man. You will stay in Magdalene College for three days in April 2022, receiving academic sessions, admissions workshops, and a chance to explore the city of Cambridge. The deadline for applications is 31st January 2022.

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