Sidney Sussex 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.

Sidney Sussex is the ‘newest of the old’ colleges, being founded in 1596, and is relatively small compared to the others. Being right in the centre (and opposite Sainsbury’s!), students at Sidney have excellent access to shops and clubs, and the shorter distance to lectures (as most of them will be in the centre in first year) means later mornings! Sometimes referred to as the ‘social hub of Cambridge’, many societies end up using Sidney’s bar and gardens for various functions throughout the year and students here are particularly friendly! As well as being friendly, as a student body, we also strive for inclusivity and so are well known for our Access and LGBT+ networks.

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Sidney Sussex College

Key facts

  • Distance to Sports Pitch
    10-15 minutes walk
  • Gym
    Yes
  • Music Practice Rooms
    Yes
  • Prayer spaces
    Yes
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Vegetarian: Always Vegan: Occasionally; The option is always available at formal
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Other dietary requirements: Occasionally
  • Theatre space
    No
  • Undergraduates / Year
    102

What is your favourite thing about Sidney Sussex?

Sarah, Sidney Sussex, Natural Sciences, 3rd year
Sarah
Natural Sciences, 3rd year

For me, one of the best things is definitely the location! When I first visited it struck me just how close we are to everything, from being across the road from Sainsburys, to it taking ten minutes max to walk to most departments. However we hardly ever have many tourists wandering around, it’s definitely a hidden treasure slap bang in the middle of Cambridge! The gardens are beautiful but the front of college is fairly unassuming so we can hide away from all the hustle and bustle!

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Sarah, Sidney Sussex, Natural Sciences, 3rd year
Sarah
Natural Sciences, 3rd year

When I first arrived at college, I was made to feel welcome right from the start. You could tell that it’s a really great community, which I think is made a lot by the fact that almost everyone lives on site, and there’s only around 100 people in a year. The student-run college bar is really popular and people are keen to get involved in college events and the Student’s Union, which makes the community strong.

What is the accommodation like?

Sarah, Sidney Sussex, Natural Sciences, 3rd year
Sarah
Natural Sciences, 3rd year
Accomodation

In first year I was randomly allocated a room in college, living with loads of other freshers. About half the freshers live in flats roughly three minutes walk from college, and everyone else is in college. Sidney is great, because the furthest you’ll ever be living from college is three minutes, and there’s a great community in those places. Second and third year rooms are assigned by a ballot system, which is random and reversed for the following year. For me, this meant my room in second year was pretty small (although still near my friends - we lived in a house down the road from college) as I was near the bottom of the ballot, but my room in third year is really nice - I have a set with a ‘living room’ and bedroom that are mine - and great for having friends round! There’s a lot of variety in room choice, with some being in the older parts of college and generally having quite limited cooking facilities along with shared bathrooms, while other rooms are newly renovated and are near well-equipped kitchens, as well as some en-suites.

How good is the food?

Alia, Sidney Sussex, Philosophy, 1st year
Alia
Philosophy, 1st year
The Food

While there aren’t that many options, the food is always soooooo good! It’s relatively cheap compared to the other colleges, and there’s always a vegetarian option. Another really nice feature is that they tell you the allergens contained in every meal with a convenient, easy-to-identify graphic.The JCR are currently putting forward the idea of ‘Meat-free Mondays’ which would aid the environment, and reduce Kitchen costs slightly - also, if it goes through, we’d be the first college to do this and I think that’s really neat! Also, as well as Hall itself being fab, food at Formal Hall is even better, and there’s always a little homemade chocolate at the end of every meal! Still, if you don’t have much time, or you don’t like what’s available that day, you can always make food for yourself - all accommodation has access to some sort of gyp room - and, for the truly time-stretched, Sainsbury’s is just across the street!

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Sarah, Sidney Sussex, Natural Sciences, 3rd year
Sarah
Natural Sciences, 3rd year

There’s loads of stuff that you can get involved with in college! Sidney has a college team for most sports, which are generally really chilled - you can turn up on the day and play, and it’ll be a good laugh! There’s also societies such as the ‘Tea and Biscuits’ society (yes, you do turn up and just drink tea and eat biscuits!) which are essentially social societies for people who share a common interest. Rowing is very popular, and loads of people have a go when they first arrive. The college bar is a popular place to go and hang out in the evenings, and every now and then the Ents team organises themed nights in the bar (called ‘bops’) when all the cheesy tunes and silly costumes come out!

What welfare support is there?

Alia, Sidney Sussex, Philosophy, 1st year
Alia
Philosophy, 1st year

As a smaller college Sidney is able to support you as an individual, and you’re always welcome to talk to the Chaplain or the Nurse. You don’t need to be religious to talk to the chaplain! He’s open to everyone and extremely lovely - most people I know have seen the chaplain at least once. If you have any academic concerns you can always ask your tutor for advice; I asked my tutor whether or not I should take an extra language paper - we both decided it might be a bit much! While the staff are wonderful, there are also students who deal with welfare matters and help organise events as elected members of the college JCR. The Male and Female Welfare officers coordinate socials, such as an acoustic night or free chocolate in the bar, and can discretely help with other issues. They work in conjunction with the LGBT+ Officer, the Disabled Students’ Officer and the Women’s Officer.

What about your College would you change?

Alia, Sidney Sussex, Philosophy, 1st year
Alia
Philosophy, 1st year

Literally, the only thing I would change about college is that the tiled flooring leading up to the bar can get a little slippy when it’s wet and you’re not wearing the right shoes - I really like pretty much everything else about Sidney!

What has been going on at Sidney Sussex College?

- Recent Events -

Smoker

Sidney held its first ever ‘smoker’ event, where a lineup of about ten people performed short stand-up comedy sketches. It was held in the bar and all proceeds went to charity, and was great fun!

A (Very) Little Night Music

Sidney Singers Sidney Singers, a non-audition choir run by Sidney Sussex College Music Society, performed a three song set: Space Oddity; The Sound of Silence; and You’re the One That I Want.

Acoustic night

About halfway through each term, the welfare team organises an acoustic night, at which anyone can perform anything. It’s a great chance to take a break from work and showcase all of the college’s talent, from singing to stand-up and more.

College Gallery

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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