St Catharine's 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.

Catz is a relatively small college with quite a cosy community feel. We are in an absolutely ideal location just a 2 minute walk from the marketplace and close to loads of shops, clubs and restaurants. The college itself has some very traditional and very modern parts making a strange kind of hybrid of new and old.

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St Catharines College

Credit: Cambridge University

What is your favourite thing about St Catharine’s?

Bethany: The best thing about Catz is definitely the friendly atmosphere. As Catz is a fairly small college you get to know all of your year group and the other years really well. This means you have friends from many different subjects and people really look out for each other. Getting to know the older years gives you such a great support network to ask for advice and it really helps to make Catz feel like home.

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Megan Cheyney, Catz, PBS, 1st year
PBS, 1st year

The first impression I had after arriving at Catz was just how friendly and welcoming everyone was- people at Catz are laid-back, have fun and don't take themselves too seriously! From your first day here, there are people around to help you move in and answer any questions that you have. Catz is a close-knit and supportive community with lots of opportunities to meet people in different year groups, and there is always someone around who can help if you need it! What I love about Catz is that there are lots of opportunities and things that you can get involved in, from sport to charity work, to music, there is something for everyone.

What is the accommodation like?

Megan Cheyney, Catz, PBS, 1st yr
PBS, 1st year

First and third years at Catz live in college, and have a choice of either ensuite or non-ensuite rooms of varying sizes. Before first years arrive, they are given a choice of an ensuite room, or a small, medium or large non-ensuite room. Students living in non-ensuite rooms will usually share a bathroom with around 6-8 people, but all rooms have a sink. Ensuite and non-ensuite alike, you can still personalise and decorate your room with photo collages, posters, cushions and make it feel like home! Second years at Catz live with their friends in flats of 4 or 5 on a separate site- St Chad's, a 10 minute walk from college

How good is the food?

Owen McArdle, Catz, MML, 1st yr
MML, 1st year

It’s not bad. Probably better than school (better than mine anyway) but unlikely to win a Michelin star.

All three meals can be purchased daily. Meals are hearty, with meat-and-two-veg being common, but also a wide range of fish and vegetable dishes. There is always at least one vegetarian option, often two, and also cold food and snacks for sale. On a Sunday, brunch takes the place of breakfast and lunch; this is the best-loved meal of the week and unbelievable value.

Three times a week there’s ‘formal hall’. You dress up and wear your gown and eat a four-course formal meal: Catz is unique in having a cheese course. The formals are This is not compulsory, but nice to go to occasionally for birthdays and often sports teams or societies will have annual dinners.

There are also quite basic cooking facilities (called “gyp-rooms”) if you would rather cook for yourself and in second year you have full kitchens at St Chad's site.

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Bethany: Catz has an incredible range of societies! If you’re interested in sports you can play anything from badminton to rugby, football to lacrosse—all at a range of levels, whether you want something more relaxed or a bit of competition. If playing sports isn’t your thing, you can always go along and support the Catz teams, there is usually a big crowd. For those interested in music, Catz has an excellent choir that performs regularly in the chapel services and an orchestra that performs at a wide variety of concerts and events. There really is something for everyone, from tea society to surf society and they are a great way to make new friends and make the most out of your time at Catz.

What welfare support is there?

Fabz, St Catharine's, Natural Sciences, 2nd year
Natural Sciences, 2nd year

At Catz we have two welfare officers on the Junior Common Room committee that provide a range of services from sexual health supplies to mental health support and anything in between. We also have a welfare subcommittee which includes separate officers for women’s, BME, mental health, LGBTQ+, disabled and international issues.

Our JCR has good relations with College staff, who allow us to request changes and try to make Catz as accessible as possible for everyone. Recently catz has become the first college in Cambridge to ever change its formal dress code and have abolished gender specification for formal hall which is a massive achievement. Projects like these are constantly undertaken by our JCR and make us a very forward-thinking college.

All students will have a designated tutor who is there for support outside work and can advise towards the many grants and bursaries provided by the college. We also have a chaplain who is very friendly, approachable and is always happy to talk through more personal issues and give advice whether regarding religious issues or not. The list of welfare support is absolutely endless at Catz and we feel this makes us a unique college and allows everyone here to have help and support during their time here.

What about your College would you change?

Owen McArdle, Catz, MML, 1st yr
MML, 1st year

With the disclaimer that I live in the middle of nowhere, I wish we had a bigger college site.

Catz is in a great position in the middle of town, with easy access to Cambridge’s great shopping streets and many University faculties, yet also far enough away from the tourist hustle and bustle. However we are a small college on an even smaller site, so it can sometimes feel like we are all living on top of one another.

The small size of our main “Island” site means that second-years live about 10 minutes out of college at St Chad’s. It also means we don’t have an awful lot of green space: we don’t have gardens or duck ponds like some other colleges, which means that it is harder to take a few minutes away from your daily routine.

What has been going on at St Catharine's College?

- Recent Events -

Catz Comedy Night

There was a great open mic Comedy Night in Catz bar that ran from 8 till late.

Sports day versus Worcester College (our sister Oxford college)

Cambridge Colleges are often informally twinned with Oxford Colleges, and events are sometimes run that bring students from each together. St Catharine’s and Worcester students made the most of friendly rivalry at a sports day this term!

80s bop in the Bar

College discos are usually called ‘bops’ at Cambridge, and St Catharine’s had one at the end of term that was 1980’s-themed!

College Gallery

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