Cambridge University Students’ Union’s (CUSU) Shadowing Scheme gives around 400 sixth formers and mature students from schools and backgrounds without a tradition of top university entry an inspiring taste of life as a Cambridge student.

The scheme was an invaluable experience and fantastic opportunity that has reignited my ambition

Runner-up, Alyssa D'Agostino

Over three days, Shadows attend lectures and supervisions as well as getting involved with the University’s vibrant social life, including its societies, clubs and sports teams.

Earlier this year, participants were invited to enter a photography and diary competition based on their experiences and perceptions of life and study at Cambridge. CUSU received dozens of outstanding entries and after much deliberation its judges have spoken…

Winning the diary competition, Harriet Van Houben, from Okehampton College in Devon, described a supervision session at St Catharine’s College.

"I was included within the session – being asked to read sections of a poem and share my thoughts, feelings and personal analysis on it. At one point I was even able to define a term that the other two couldn’t … we all shared a passion for the subject and I found that even if they were talking about more advanced elements it all came back to the basic foundations that it consisted of and that I was familiar with."

Runner-up, Alyssa D'Agostino, from Colston's Girls' School in Bristol, reflected on her experience

"The force behind the incredible reputation and beautiful buildings is in fact a tight community of some of the friendliest and most welcoming people you could ever meet. The scheme was an invaluable experience and fantastic opportunity that has reignited my ambition."

In the photography category, Anna Moss from Hertfordshire’s John Warner School took first prize with a masterful shot taken as she walked across St John's College’s world-famous Bridge of Sighs.

St John’s also inspired the winning entries for Weeks 1 and 2 of the Shadowing Scheme. Samira Kanwal from Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre impressed by transforming an architectural shot into a personal story with her own shadow.

Meanwhile, Joseph Amoss from John Leggott College in Scunthorpe aimed his camera at the much less photographed Cripps Building, built in the 1960s, and impressed the judges by exploring "its own beauty with particularly effective use of lighting."

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