Selwyn College

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

Selwyn is a relatively smaller college at Cambridge both physically and in terms of student numbers, with the intake being just a bit more than 100 students each year. Situated just a short walk (or cycle) out of town, it is right next to the Sidgwick Site, where Arts students have most of their lectures making morning commutes for them virtually a quick roll out of bed. The Science and Engineering faculties are a bit further out, but then these are all within comfortable walking distance. Its location not being right in the city centre also means that it gets far fewer tourists on the weekends (and now even weekdays), making for a nice, relaxed, and down-to-earth environment.

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Selwyn College

Credit: Cambridge University

Key facts

  • Distance to Sports Pitch
    0.7 miles (5 minute cycle, 10 minute walk)
  • Gym
    Available - a small multifunctional gym
  • Music Practice Rooms
    One available
  • Prayer spaces
    Chapel - open to those of any or no religion
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Vegetarian: At least one option available at lunch, dinner, or at formals Vegan: Often the vegetarian option is vegan too, otherwise vegan is available on request
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Happy to cater for any dietary requirements
  • Theatre space
    The Diamond (open space, no stage)/The Chapel/Gardens
  • Undergraduates / Year
    approx. 115

What is your favourite thing about Selwyn?

Jonathan, Selwyn, Law, 1st year
Jonathan
Law, 1st year

My favourite thing about Selwyn is definitely the people. Everybody I’ve met so far loves being at Selwyn and it really is a friendly college (an oft-repeated characterisation but definitely very true). The friendliness extends also to the porters (who have quite a good sense of humour), the Master (who hosts freshers for dinner and introduces us to his “cat” Yo-Yo), and the fellows (who may sometimes act stern in supervisions but are very eager to offer us help whenever we need it).

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Jonathan, Selwyn, Law, 1st year
Jonathan
Law, 1st year
Atmosphere

One of my first impressions of Selwyn was how the students here are an easy-going, friendly group. We’ve collectively wondered how the Admissions team manages to do this, but then they somehow have been able to choose people that fit nicely together. In academics, we work together quite closely and help each other out, preparing for supervisions together, or sending each other lecture notes if some of us happen to not be able to go. There’s also always a good turnout at events, be it at careers talks (read: free food and drink), bops (Cambridge-speak for a party/dance/disco) or formals (dinners where you dress, as the name suggests, formally), so if you want a break from work there’s always people with whom you can de-stress with. All in all, we’re a tight community with definitely a very enjoyable atmosphere!

What is the accommodation like?

Charlotte, Selwyn, Philosophy, 2nd year
Charlotte
Philosophy, 2nd year
Accomodation

In first year, everyone lives in Cripps Court, which is the most modern accommodation in college. Each room has an en-suite, and most rooms are exactly the same in terms of price and size. Only a few rooms are slightly smaller, and therefore cheaper, and there are a couple of larger rooms which are a little more expensive. Rooms are allocated randomly, but you are encouraged to contact college in advance if you require a ground floor room, or would prefer a cheaper room. From second year onwards, there is much more choice, with the option to live in an en-suite, a set (a room with a separate bedroom to the main living area) or even a house! There are a range of prices available, and the option to ballot with friends, meaning that you choose who you live with.

How good is the food?

Charlotte, Selwyn, Philosophy, 2nd year
Charlotte
Philosophy, 2nd year

Selwyn has its own dining hall, which is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus brunch on a Sunday – cheap and delicious – a personal favourite) and is a great place to eat and relax. There are vegetarian, vegan and Halal options available and a range of snacks, desserts and drinks. There is also a cheap option, currently jacket potatoes, and college are continuing to work on more affordable options. Like most colleges, the quality and price of food can vary, however Selwyn does huge portions and the desserts are particularly popular! You can also get your food in a reusable takeaway container, so that you can eat in your room, or outside in the summer, which is great. Each corridor has a kitchen, and although we don’t have ovens or freezers, we do have fridges, and there is plenty that you can cook on the hob or in the microwave.

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Gaia, Selwyn, English, 2nd year
Gaia
English, 2nd year

There are countless extra-curricular things to do at Selwyn, with a great number of clubs to be a part of — we have societies for everything from music to tea! Our students take part in a wide variety of sports, including hockey, netball, rugby and lacrosse, playing matches against other colleges each weekend, and the college also has a flourishing drama society which stages at least one college production per term, along with more casual comedy or musical theatre events. The JCR also holds a number of social events, called ‘Ents’, such as ‘bops’ (basically like school discos but more fun) and fortnightly Quiz Nights in the College Bar.

What welfare support is there?

Gaia, Selwyn, English, 2nd year
Gaia
English, 2nd year
Welfare Support

Selwyn JCR takes Welfare support very seriously, so we have 4 different ‘Welfare Officers’ who you can go to for support: Male welfare, Female welfare, LGBT+ rep and Disabilities rep. These are all students who you can go to see in their weekly ‘Welfare hours’, or get in touch with any time you need a chat. They also hold welfare events such as film nights or ‘Welfare walks’ which are really popular and a great way to chill out. Each student also has a Tutor, who is in charge of their pastoral wellbeing, who you meet with twice a term, and ‘College parents’, students in the year above who keep an eye out for you and often give you chocolate in Week 5! The College also has a Chaplain, who is really friendly and always happy to have a chat with anyone.

What about your College would you change?

Gaia, Selwyn, English, 2nd year
Gaia
English, 2nd year

The one thing I’d get rid of is the mushroom crumble they serve in hall from time to time! It’s terrible — you should never try to mix pudding and fungi!

What has been going on at Selwyn College?

- Recent Events -

Welfare Film Night

The JCR Welfare Officers, Alex and Elena, organized a film night for us recently. This is a termly event with quite decent turnout: last term it was the movie Brick, and this term it was Inside Out with a packed audience in the JCR cinema.

Sports - Football: Matches against Churchill and Emmanuel

Selwyn has had a good streak recently in football, with the 1st team winning 2-1 against Churchill and the 2nd winning 13-0 against Emma (not a typo!). A blow-by-blow rundown of the matches can be found on the Selwyn College Sport facebook page.

Selwyn Musical Theatre and Comedy Bar Night

Selwyn’s theatre society, The Mighty Players, recently hosted a Bar Night. We had people perform sketches and stand-up comedy and singing musical theatre songs and it was a fantastic night!

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Please note that as student volunteers we are unable to answer questions on admissions requirements - e.g. school/college qualifications needed to apply. You are best asking these questions to admissions@cam.ac.uk