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Questions about Selwyn

Who can I ask for help as a Selwyn student?

Depending on the nature of the help you are asking for, and your personal preference of who you’d like to speak to, there are many different options for this.

All students are allocated a Director of Studies (DoS), who oversees the undertaking of their course and their academic progress, and a Tutor, whose role is focused on the pastoral side of university life. Both of these people will always be willing to respond to emails with advice or arrange a meeting with you, and regardless of whether you have a problem, you will meet twice a term with them anyway - so you’ll soon get to know them. In addition, the college Chaplain is another friendly face around college who is always supportive, no matter what the nature of the problem; he is there for people of all faiths and none. The College Nurse is also available to all students.

If you’d rather speak to another student, the Selwyn JCR have a team of welfare officers who host wellbeing events for students and are also only ever a message away, or a few metres away to knock on their door for a chat. You can see these roles here: TODO NEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS LINK

The University also offers a wide range of support services for all of its students, University Counseling Service 

Will I spend all my time in college?

On joining the University, you become a member of a College, which is where you live, eat most of your meals and where some of your supervisions may be based. Other than that, you are in no way confined to your College, as all lectures take place elsewhere.

What are the rooms like at Selwyn college?

You can see some photos of the rooms, along with more accommodation info, at: the College's Accomodation Page with room photos.

All rooms will contain a single bed, desk and chair, shelves, wardrobe, drawers, bedside table, comfy chair and a notice board.

In Cripps Courtthe first-year rooms were all refurbished in 2014, so the furniture is new and there is plenty of noticeboard space. There are hooks on the wall for posters and photos so you can personalise them.

Old Court is currently undergoing refurbishment; the shared bathrooms now look great and many of the gyp rooms have been given a makeover. These rooms have great character with old windows and some rooms will have a separate bedroom.

Ann's Courtis the newest of the buildings and has the more expensive rooms. These rooms are generally larger, with en-suites and a gyp room between up to around six.

Another option for second and third years is the College owned houses, which have shared bathrooms and a larger kitchen. These include some of the cheapest rooms because they are a little older, but the rooms are often larger and some might have sofas and other furniture not found elsewhere in college.

At Selwyn, all accommodation is on the college site - this is not the case for many colleges! Also, almost all rooms will contain lockable storage space that you can leave some belongings in during the vacations.

Does Selwyn cater for all dietary requirements?

At every meal Selwyn offers a vegetarian option, and a vegan  option at every lunchtime and most of the time also in the evening. Most  dietary requirements made known to the College will be catered for on  request, including any allergies - this applies to the standard  cafeteria service and the formal dinners, which are three courses and  include table-service.

Will I have access to a kitchen?

Every student will have access to a “gyp room”, which is what kitchenettes are known as in Cambridge. The appliances available in these is heavily dependent on the college you are at, but in Selwyn all gyps offer a fridge, hob, a microwave, a kettle and a toaster. In second and third year you may choose to live in accommodation that also has an oven and freezer. The number of people sharing a gyp room varies between two and eight.

Will I fit in at Selwyn?

Students join Selwyn from a wide range of backgrounds: there's certainly no “typical student” in Cambridge, which means you’ll find common ground with people both in the college and across the university.

Don’t believe any outdated stereotypes you may hear! Selwyn promotes, and its current student body showcases, both equality and diversity. The incoming 2019 Selwyn Freshers are made up of 57 male and 60 female students (this approximate 1:1 ratio is maintained year-on-year) and 74.7% (rising annually) of these are state-educated. In terms of cultural diversity, 18% of the students are from outside of the UK, and they represent a total of ten different countries, from both within and outside the EU.

Selwyn is also commonly nicknames 'the  friendly college' by students around Cambridge, and the atmosphere is  certainly calming rather than competitive - people are always willing to go out of their way to help you.

If you are still worried, and have some specific questions just get in contact and we will always be happy to help. Or, see what you think for yourself by seeing some of the diverse range of students on our Students of Selwyn page on Facebook and Instagram.

Students of Selwyn Facebook Page    Students of Selwyn Instagram Account

What clubs and societies can I join in Selwyn?

There are a whole range of societies offered by Selwyn for their own students - from subject societies such as History and Natural Sciences, to sports such as football and rowing, and other more novel societies such as ‘French Foodies’. In addition, the University offers an even larger range of societies. In every college, you will be able to join both their societies and those offered by the University. You can create your own society if you don’t find the one you’re after.

To see more of Selwyn’s societies: TODO NEW SOCIETIES LINK

To see more of the University’s societies: the University's Registered Clubs and Societies Registry  and the Student Unions's Society Page

What courses can I study at Selwyn?

Selwyn offers all of the 30 undergraduate courses available at  the University. These cover 65 subject areas and you can see the full list of undergraduate courses at Cambridge.

What is the JCR?

JCR stands for Junior Combination Room, which has two interpretations.

In a literal sense, the JCR is a room in college solely for undergraduate use - featuring games consoles, a large TV, many sofas, a kitchen, a pool table, a table-tennis table and table football.

The Selwyn JCR is also the student society which represents all Selwyn undergraduates - all students automatically become members when they join. There is a JCR committee, which consists of students in different roles who represent student views and aim to improve the quality of life for students in College.

To find out more about the JCR, including the different committee roles, please see our website:

Will I be sharing a bathroom?

In Selwyn, all first years stay in Cripps Court, where all rooms are en-suite with a shower which is cleaned once a week. After first year, you are able to choose from a range of rooms with various bathroom facilities; if you don’t have an en-suite (they’re usually more expensive) you will still have a sink in your room, and the shared bathroom is cleaned every weekday. The toilet and shower may be shared between just two people, and probably not more than five. Some bathrooms may also contain a separate bath, but this is uncommon.

Will I always have accommodation provided in college?

A great benefit of Selwyn College is that you are always guaranteed accommodation on the main college grounds for the duration of your undergraduate degree. This makes it easy to access college facilities, whereas at other colleges you may need to move into accommodation across the city. At Selwyn you’ll have to vacate your room at the end of each term but will return to the same one for the entire academic year. Regardless of your College, the University will always have accommodation available for you.

Is Selwyn catered or self-catered?

At Selwyn there is a servery which offers three daily meals and is open to buy snacks and drinks throughout the day, but you may use this as little or as much as you want - it’s completely up to you!  Food is  subsidised, and a main evening meal will only cost £3-5. The College bar  and café is also open daily from noon until 11pm and offers coffee,  drinks, snacks and meals. All your food and drink in College is charged to your student card, which is then paid for in the next term’s bill.

Which subjects is Selwyn best for?

The quality of teaching does not vary between colleges as the courses are organised and delivered by the University. In terms of location, many people find Selwyn very convenient as it is directly adjacent to the Sidgwick site, where many humanities subjects are taught. Selwyn is also directly between the West Cambridge and central Cambridge science sites - so it’s really not a bad location for anything!

Is Selwyn expensive to live in?

For the 2020-21 Academic year, the average accommodation price for first-year students is £157 per week. As the rent period for the year is 30 weeks compared to over 40 at other universities, our accommodation costs are often cheaper than other institutions. From second-year onwards, accommodation prices range from around £100 to £169 per week - this will depend on the room size and whether there are en-suite facilities. All the rent costs also include utility fees such as heating, water and electricity, whereas elsewhere you may be  billed for these separately. After first year you get to 'ballot' for where you live, meaning you have a lot of control over your accommodation costs and who you live with. 

An evening meal in the Selwyn servery is typically around £3-5. People will often prepare their own food, which gives more flexibility in price.

In general, living costs at university is heavily dependent on lifestyle choices, but in our survey of Selwyn students on average their overall costs per week during term were £215, with a range from £145 to £300.

How big is Selwyn College?

Selwyn is a medium-sized college, which admits around 120 undergraduates each year, which makes for around 400 students across 4 year groups. So not too big to get lost in the crowd, but not too small that you can't meet new people everyday!

Why should I apply to Selwyn?

Selwyn, also known as ‘the friendly college’ by students around Cambridge, is a truly special place to call home with a welcoming community in which anyone, regardless of their background, is invited to share in the love for studying their subject. Not too big or too small, there will always be a friendly face around without it feeling stuffy and it is old enough to have the exciting traditions of Cambridge and  beautiful architecture - but is young enough to not have tourists flocking around the gardens all year and have many modern facilities. 

The site is directly adjacent to the Sidgwick site, home of most arts and humanities courses, and less than a five-minute walk from the University Library. Selwyn is  also equidistant from West Cambridge and the city centre for sciences, making it a perfect location for everyone, especially as you are guaranteed accommodation on site for the entirety of your undergraduate degree. On site accommodation creates a great community which students can thrive in . 

If you want to hear even more reasons you’ll love it here…just see our Students of Selwyn page on Facebook and Instagram!  Students of Selwyn Facebook Page    Students of Selwyn Instagram Account

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