Children from schools across the North East region are being given the chance to find out more about life at Oxbridge.
The Cambridge and Oxford Student Conference series is coming to the North East this week, giving young people the opportunity to learn more about life at the universities, and get advice on how to secure a place from those who know best.
Current students will attend the events to share their insight with potential applicants, as hundreds of Year 12 pupils across the region start to plan their next steps.
Those from schools in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Cleveland, Durham, Newcastle and Gateshead will head to the session to hear how their peers are adjusting to life at Cambridge.
Some of the university's students are involved in initiatives aiming to increase the number of applicants from state schools and other under-represented groups.
Among them is Ruth Augarde, who was a pupil at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School.
The 21-year-old is currently in her second year studying engineering at Peterhouse.
She said: "My advice would be to research your course thoroughly. Find out about the content, how the supervision works.
"Engineering obviously isn't something you can study at A-level, so when I was in Year 12 I was able to find out more about the Cambridge course by attending this conference.
“I was so keen on my course and studying at Cambridge that the distance between home and Cambridge wasn't a big concern for me. There is a myth that everyone at the university is posh. But there's such a variety of people, from different backgrounds all over the UK and the world.
The North East's conference will take place at St James's Park, Newcastle, on Thursday March 21 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
Sessions for students will give an overview of courses available at Cambridge, how to make an application, student life and finance, and the interview process.
Admissions tutors will also be available to talk to both pupils and teachers.
Rachel Lister, Head of Student Recruitment and Widening Participation at Cambridge University, added: "At each venue we go to, we invite schools from the area to bring their pupils along to ask questions and learn more about life at two of the country’s leading universities.
"It’s great to inspire young people to apply, who may have previously thought a place at Cambridge or Oxford was beyond their reach.”