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Undergraduates become mentors for flagship shadowing scheme

Two undergraduates from St John’s College have volunteered to become mentors in a flagship scheme to inspire students from all backgrounds to apply to Cambridge University.

Tom Beaven, 18, and Kweku Abraham, 20, have been part of the Student Shadowing Scheme, organised by Cambridge Union Student Union, which allows young people to be partnered with an undergraduate to experience university life. The scheme’s aim is to demonstrate that Cambridge is for everyone, regardless of background, and over the course of three days the shadowing students can attend lectures, social events, and live and eat in a University College.

Tom BeavenTom Beaven, a first year History student from Huddersfield and one of only a few people from his local area to go to Cambridge, believes the scheme is important as it encourages those who may not have thought about going to the University to apply. “Many people where I come from see Cambridge as very far away, probably inordinately expensive, and socially exclusive”, says Tom. “The shadowing scheme shows that in reality people from all sorts of backgrounds come here to live and study.”

Kweku Abraham

Kweku Abraham studied at St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington and is now in his third year studying Mathematics at St John’s. Kweku decided to join the scheme to show potential students that Cambridge could be for them and to offer to others the same support that he received. “Cambridge is much more diverse than people realise” he says, “and knowing that they could apply here and fit in could change people’s lives.”