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Care leavers

We offer a range of help and advice to enable you to make an informed choice about studying with us.

This project is available to Looked after Children and care leavers aged 14+ who reside in South East Wales. Young people who join the project will have the opportunity to meet on a regular basis with current university students who act as mentors. Young people will take part in:

  • University taster days
  • workshops to support studies and applications for college / university / jobs
  • social nights (such as film or game nights)
  • group trips (previous trips have included the theatre, bowling and Winter Wonderland).

Those who join the project will also be invited to attend University events such as GCSE / A-level revision workshops and advice sessions to support Personal Education Plans.

Confident Futures Summer School

The Confident Futures Summer School is a two-day event aimed at giving young people in care the chance to experience student life in a safe and supported environment. The Summer School includes an overnight stay in halls of residence, where young people are paired with university students to take part in everyday student activities including:

  • shopping for food and cooking dinner in student flats
  • student life taster sessions (previous years have included circus skills and student media)
  • orientation around the campus and the city
  • subject taster sessions (previous sessions have included healthcare and the science of chocolate making).

For further information on the Confident Futures Project and Summer School, please contact us at:

Confident Futures Project

If you are from South East Wales and in Year 12, you may also be eligible to join the Step Up scheme.

At an Open Day, visitors will have the opportunity to talk to students and staff and visit different parts of the University. You can also find out important information about accommodation, student finance and other student support provision by talking informally to our professional staff.

When you book to attend an Open Day, you will have the opportunity to disclose that you are a care leaver. If you do this, you will be invited to attend a breakfast drop-in session to meet key members of staff who can help you plan your day and answer any questions you have.

Care leavers can declare on their UCAS application that they have been in care. We will always respect your decision and your confidentiality so won’t share any of your information with anybody unless you want us to. We simply ask for this information to enable us to provide you with the most appropriate support for your needs.

We have implemented a contextual admissions model to better inform Admissions Tutors’ understanding of applicants’ social backgrounds, allowing Admissions Tutors to assess applicants’ potential to succeed with us in the context of barriers they may have encountered.

Applicants who have spent time in care and indicated this on their UCAS form (using the specified question) will be eligible for additional consideration. This could include a guaranteed offer, guaranteed interview, an offer at a lower level or additional consideration in the summer exam results period.

We have a key contact person for care leavers and professionals working with care leavers. They can be your first point of contact should you have any questions or issues before you arrive and while you study here.

Our key contact can assist you on a range of issues such as:

  • financial support
  • money management
  • housing
  • employment
  • academic-related.

Lena Smith

Once you have been offered a place with us, we will offer you the opportunity to come and meet the care leaver key contact before the start of the course to assist with the transition to university life. You can also bring along to the meeting your social worker, personal adviser or foster carer - whoever you feel most comfortable with. During this meeting we can discuss the following:

  • how much financial support is available
  • the type of accommodation best suited to you
  • where appropriate, make provision for any additional support eg. for a disability or specific learning difficulties.

We also offer a bursary for care leavers, details of which can be found on our bursaries page.

We offer year-round accommodation to students who are care leavers, so you don’t have to worry about somewhere to stay over the vacation periods.

We provide support for students looking to rent in the private sector after the first year and can act as a guarantor if you need us to.

Cardiff University is a partner of the Go Wales: Achieve through Work Experience programme that is part-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the Welsh Government. The programme is for young students on higher education courses in Wales who are facing barriers in securing work experience.  If you are under 25, on a full-time course at Cardiff University and have been in care, you could be eligible for the scheme.

The Go Wales Team at Cardiff University can help source work shadowing opportunities, work tasters and up to six weeks paid work placements. Get in touch for further details:

GO Wales

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