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DESPITE its reputation, the University of Cambridge is no longer the preserve of the posh.

That is the message from Trinity College’s schools liaison assistant Terri-Leigh Riley, who visited Portsmouth to encourage the city’s best and brightest students to apply.

Trinity College's schools liaison assistant Terri-Leigh Riley (right), talks to Portsmouth students (l-r) Tom Shaw, 15, Amy Greed, 14, Mia-Angela Deacon, 14, Sophia Vuksanovic, 15 and Scott Giles, 15 about applying for university.''Picture: Stuart Anderson

Trinity College's schools liaison assistant Terri-Leigh Riley (right), talks to Portsmouth students (l-r) Tom Shaw, 15, Amy Greed, 14, Mia-Angela Deacon, 14, Sophia Vuksanovic, 15 and Scott Giles, 15 about applying for university.''Picture: Stuart Anderson

The 22-year-old said there were more opportunities at the UK’s top 24 universities, known as the Russell Group, than people realised.

She said: ‘There’s a perception that Cambridge is only for 
posh people but that’s just not true.

‘There’s a lot of really bright kids from all over the 
country who don’t apply and that’s sad.’

Year 10 and 11 students from Portsmouth Academy for Girls, Miltoncross Academy and Priory School joined their peers at St Edmund’s School in Landport to listen to Ms Riley talk about applying to university.

Headteacher Simon Graham said he was delighted the school was able to host the talk for students from across the city.

He said: ‘We have high aspirations for our students and it’s great to be able to open the doors of Trinity College and let them see inside.’

St Edmund’s Year 11 student Tom Shaw, 15, said he wanted to study physiology at the University of Cambridge.

He said: ‘I’m aiming for something like Cambridge because of its reputation, and because a few members of my family went there.’

Another Year 11 at St Edmund’s, Lois Harvey-Pescott, 15, said she also wanted to study at a top university.

She said: ‘I’d like to go to a highly-regarded university such as one in the Russell Group. It gives you a firm base in life and you can go anywhere from there.’

Ms Riley said it was more important than ever to make the right choice when choosing what and where to study.

She said: ‘I think it’s important to know which university to apply for to reach your full potential.

‘With fees going up and everything it’s really important to make the right choice.

‘Find a subject that you’re really passionate about and work as hard as you can.’