A key part of the Cambridge experience is living in one of the Colleges alongside your fellow students, because this creates the sense of an academic community. At Selwyn we’re able to guarantee accommodation on the main College site to all students for the three or four years of their undergraduate course.
One of the advantages that we have is that all our accommodation is on a single site – the maximum distance between any of our student rooms and the dining Hall is 250m. The result is a more cohesive and integrated community than in many Colleges. Most of our accommodation is arranged in traditional ‘courts’ which consist of a landscaped central space, enclosed by buildings on three or four sides. At Selwyn we have three such courts: Old Court dates from the 1880s and was the first part of the College to be built; Cripps Court was built in the late 1960s; and finally Ann’s Court, our newest addition, was completed in 2009. Around the border of the College site we also have a number of large Victorian houses which have been divided up into students’ rooms. The Cripps Court building has been completely refurbished, and re-opened fully in autumn 2014.
Everyone has their own room – there is no sharing. First-year students are simply allocated a room, but in subsequent years students choose where they live according to a balloting system. We have a range of different types of rooms, the rents for which reflect their size, facilities and location. All rooms are provided with a high-speed internet connection. Most rooms have basic shared kitchen facilities nearby - these can be used to prepare light snacks but are not sufficient for self-catering. The catering operation in Hall can cater for all dietary needs/allergies etc.
First year students are accommodated in Cripps Court. All of the rooms in Cripps Court are en-suite, and have shared kitchen facilities for drinks and snacks. These pictures show some typical Cripps rooms:
Most second, third and fourth years will live in College accommodation, since this is available for the duration of the course. In these year groups, undergraduates enter the ballot for rooms and can express a preference to be housed in Ann’s Court, Old Court, in Cripps Court, or in a College hostel/house. All the rooms in Ann’s Court (photos below) are en-suite.
The rooms in Old Court are varied, with some being en-suite and some with shared bathroom facilities. All have access to kitchen facilities.
Living in College
A nice feature of living in College accommodation is that you only pay rent for the time that you are in residence. Room rents include all service charges and maintenance is carried out by our own staff. As a result term-time costs are strikingly low when compared to market rates or even what you would pay at other universities. As the accommodation is provided by the College, you do not have to worry about finding somewhere to stay, but can spend your time on more important things.
Three meals a day are served in the College Hall on a cafeteria basis. Eating together in Hall is an important part of establishing a feeling of community within the College, and with their busy academic and social lives to organise, many of our students find eating in the Hall both convenient and economical.
Twice per week we have ‘formal hall’, which is a three-course dinner served at the table. These are one of the very few occasions when you need to dress up and wear your College academic gown. Formal halls are always very popular with our students; often they are used as occasions to celebrate a birthday, or to invite friends from other Colleges.