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.

What's life at Cambridge really like?

We know it isn’t easy choosing which university to go to and applying to Cambridge can feel like a big decision to make! As we’ve experienced this ourselves, we’d like to try answer any questions you might have and help you make informed decisions. From web pages on Colleges (where we live) to courses, social life to academic support, the CUSU Alternative Prospectus is the student insight to Cambridge: we’re not trying to ‘sell’ it to you – rather tell you our experience so you can decide for yourself.

Unfortunately, Cambridge is surrounded by many myths and stereotypes that prevent people from thinking that it’s worth applying. Hopefully, the student profiles and experiences on this website prove that Cambridge is actually made up of people from all sorts of backgrounds – this university is for everyone, no matter where you've come from, what your parents do for a living, or the type of school you went to. We promise it’s not all work, work, work, either – that myth is very wrong too!

Check out the Courses section for profiles on each undergraduate course, advice on choosing your course and info on academic life. The Colleges section tells you about where students live, with info on what a College actually is and profiles of each one. The town and university as a place to live is described in the Cambridge section. The Student Life and Applying sections are coming soon! You can ask questions to current students through each Course and College page and via our Ask a Student page, where you can find the answers to other questions that have been asked too.

Why Cambridge - Students enjoying themselves
What are the students like?
Studying at Cambridge
How much time is spent studying?
What's Cambridge like to live in?
What's Cambridge like to live in?

Eireann Attridge
Olivia Hylton-Pennant
CUSU Access & Funding Officer 2017-18

Hi there!

Welcome to the Cambridge University Alternative Prospectus. I’m Olivia and I’m the CUSU Access and Funding Officer for 2017/18. CUSU is the university-wide representative body for students at Cambridge. CUSU is led by 6 lovely full-time officers who were elected by students and we have a great team of support staff who work with us.

I’m currently on a year out from studying Philosophy at Newnham College and I’ll return to studying in October 2018. The first time I came to Cambridge was on April 26th 2012 with a charity that works with young people. Before that, I hadn’t really considered going to university at all.

Cambridge is an absolutely incredible place to study – it’s home to a unique teaching system, hundreds of societies and people from all around the world. In the past two years I’ve competed in an athletics competition older than the modern Olympics, met Rev Jesse Jackson Jr and eaten a lot of free pizza. There is so much to get involved with here.

Regardless of background, everyone should have the opportunity to find out more about what it’s like to be at Cambridge. The purpose of the Alternative Prospectus is to provide you with answers to questions that you might have about studying and living here. The Alternative Prospectus is written by students, for students. After all, we know better than anyone else what it’s like to be here.


#CambTweet is CUSU’s Twitter-based project that helps you find out about student life at Cambridge. There’s one student volunteer per (nearly every) subject, and they’re tweeting daily about everything from what they’re studying to hanging out with friends. Search #CambTweet or @cambtweetcusu on Twitter to find them.