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Lucy Cavendish spearheads two revolutionary programmes designed to improve students’ first year experiences

Lucy Cavendish has a 55 year tradition of being the College that admits talented individuals from non-traditional and under-represented backgrounds. 

Despite their talent and tenacity, students from disadvantaged backgrounds sometimes struggle to adjust to the pace and intensity of the Cambridge term. They may enter their first year feeling anxious and low on confidence. They are prevented from unlocking their own academic potential, lagging behind.

The result? As the ‘lagging’ effect compounds, those from less-privileged backgrounds often achieve lower grades over the course of their Cambridge degree than their more-affluent peers.

With your help during the LucyGives Giving Week (18-25 October 2020), Lucy Cavendish will spearhead two revolutionary programmes ensuring that the Cambridge experiences of all our students are dramatically improved. This will level the playing field, making sure that all students - irrespective of background - have an equal chance of unlocking their academic potential, starting as soon as their first year begins.

Research Project

As part of this programme the college will establish a student co-led research programme to investigate the lived experience of non-traditional students at the College.

A Research Project Coordinator is employed to oversee the programme, and at least two student Co-researchers from each Tripos will be paid to contribute to the study, recording and submitting their experiences in the form of diary entries.

This helps identify the issues faced by those from under-represented backgrounds leading to finding and implementing solutions, ensuring barriers to success are removed. Students will enter their second and third years empowered, with confidence and the ability to succeed.

Bridging Programme

Following a successful pilot in 2019, all incoming first year students take part in the Bridging Programme in the week prior to the start of Michaelmas term.

Designed to help students to make the transition to Higher Education and to settle in at Cambridge; ensures students are personally, organisationally, academically and socially ready for the start of term. Students take part in mock supervisions, meet their Tutors and Directors of Studies, visit their departments, take part in Study Skills workshops, receive a Library induction, and even find out more about Cambridge traditions such as Formal Hall.

The programme is free to attend. All costs covered by the College so that no student is prevented from benefitting from this unique support programme.

Your support will bridge the gaps in academic attainment and subsequent career progression that students from under-represented students at Cambridge would normally face. A moment of your time could change a student’s lifetime! 

  • 10 gifts of £360 cover the participation expenses of all student Co-researchers each term, so that we can generate ground-breaking primary research and ensure we can widen participation in a truly authentic and impactful way
  • 10 gifts of £2600 cover the salary of a Research Project Coordinator for one year, ensuring findings help improve students’ experiences for decades to come.
  • A gift of £350 covers the costs of one student taking part in the Bridging Programme
  • A gift of £5000 covers the Bridging Programme tuition costs for all incoming first year undergraduates
  • A gift of £15000 covers the cost of Bridging Programme accommodation or catering for our incoming 130 students 

What is LucyGives?

Together, we’ll raise funds during LucyGives (18-25 October) to help us level the playing field, ensuring those from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds can thrive academically and make the most of all that Cambridge has to offer. We’ll ensure they develop the skills required to achieve their career ambitions, so that they really can go on to make a positive impact on the world.

To get involved and to show your support please visit