This page attempts to answer some of the questions that seem to come up time and time again at Open Days and Access events. Please do get in touch if your question isn't answered here!

Are my chances of success better if I apply to a college with more places for a particular subject?

This is an incredibly common misconception, but year after year research shows that this is not the case. The University goes to great lengths to moderate applications across the colleges through the pool system (explained on the ?Application Process? page) so that the success rate of application is very similar between colleges - around 1 in 5. If you don't believe us, application statistics are published each year by the university. Instead of playing the numbers game, you are far better to choose a college based on your personal preference - could you see yourself enjoying studying and living there..

Are there certain colleges that specialise in or are better at certain subjects?

Absolutely not! All students on the same course, regardless of their college, attend the same lectures, seminars and practicals, and sit the same exams. In the rare event of there not being an academic with enough expertise to supervise you in a certain area of your course, your Director of Studies will simply arrange for you to see a specialist at another college.

What, then, is the role of college?

At the most basic level, college is where you live, eat, and do most of your socialising. College is also responsible for providing you with academic and pastoral care, including supervisions. It also provides facilities, such as sports pitches, music practice rooms, common rooms, library, hall, bar etc.

But college becomes so much more that all of this. It is your family, where the majority of your friends are - a community that you become a part of, through college sports teams, societies and social events. And nearly every Cambridge student you talk to will try and convince you that their college is the best (although really, everyone knows it's actually Corpus!)

Is college catered or non-catered?

The catering system in Cambridge is different from that in other universities. It offers a lot more flexibility. Instead of paying a lump sum for your catered meals over an entire term, you pay for your food in hall on a meal-to-meal basis using a swipe card. At the end of each term you then receive a bill.

Hot meals in hall cost around ?3.20 to ?5.00, but there are cheaper options such as soup and bread, salad, or pasta bowl. Corpus hall serves lunch and dinner every day except Saturday when there is brunch at 12pm.

There are also simple kitchens in accommodation which students can use to cook meals for themselves. So you can cook as much or as little as you want. Most students do a bit of both, for example having one meal in hall a day and making one themselves. On the other hand, some people have never cooked during their time studying here! The range of facilities can vary from kitchen to kitchen within Corpus, so if you have any dietary requirements which mean you would benefit from more kitchen facilities, it is important to let the college know with your accommodation application.

Can I ask for an ensuite room?

Of course! If you receive an offer, you will be sent an accommodation form. You can then choose a price bracket for your 1st year room, and you can also put down that you want an ensuite room. This does, however, cost more. If you have a valid medical reason for needing an ensuite, do mention this on the form and the college will ensure your requirements are somehow met.

The majority of rooms in college, though, are not ensuite, but this is not as big of a deal as many people think. The key thing to remember is that all communal areas including showers and toilets are cleaned by our wonderful college 'bedders' practically every day! The average number sharing a shower is only 6 and queues are extremely rare.