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Gifted Clapham students explore life at Cambridge

A group of gifted and talented students from La Retraite Catholic Girls School, Clapham Park, got to experience life at Cambridge University on a recent visit to St John’s College, designed to encourage young people to consider Cambridge when they make their future university applications.

The year 9 pupils came to St John’s to learn about applying to Cambridge and what to expect as a student. During the visit the group got to explore an historic Cambridge college and learn about both the academic and social sides of Cambridge life.

During their day in Cambridge, the class got to hear about the University admission process and tour the College as well as talk with St John’s students, who had also been pupils at La Retraite, about their lives at Cambridge.

Eden Nadiyou, one of the La Retraite pupils, said: “Before I came on this visit, I thought that Cambridge would be really posh and closed off to people from different backgrounds, but it isn’t like that at all. Everyone at St John’s is so friendly and welcoming, and Cambridge is much more open than I expected.”

The class all agreed that the best part of their visit was the chance to talk to students at St John’s College who had gone to the same school as them. Parissa Robinson, another member of the class, said:

“The question and answer session with the students really helped me learn what it is like to study and live at Cambridge. It was great to talk to real students instead of just teachers and professors, because they were able to tell us about their real experiences of university life. Having students to talk to who came from the same school as me was really inspiring.”

Several of the La Retraite students said that the visit had made them more likely to consider applying to Cambridge University when they come to make their higher education choices. One pupil, Precious Adebayo, said: “The visit was really informative and I learned a lot about Cambridge. I didn’t realise that the University was divided into so many Colleges, and St John’s in particular seems like a really friendly place to live and study.”

For more information and images about this story please contact: Ryan Cronin, St John's College, University of Cambridge. Tel: +44 (0) 1223 338711, Email:

For information about school visits to St John’s, please contact: Carly Walsh, St John’s College, University of Cambridge. Tel: +44 (0) 1223 339361, Email: