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2.3 Study Skills Support


Throughout your course, but perhaps especially at the start, there are resources available to support the transition from sixth-form to University and the ongoing development of skills to help students meet the challenges that they face. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with these resources in good time for them to be useful as you begin your course and to bear them in mind thereafter. There is lots of online and face to face support available both in Selwyn and across the University to provide advice tailored to you.

2.3.1 College and University Resources

The Selwyn Library is an excellent source of support for online and print research and also contains books dedicated to academic skills and welfare. See the library Study Help page for more information on these resources, as well as guidance on referencing and good academic practice. Those who provided study skills advice as part of

The University Skills Portal includes a section specifically about the transition to undergraduate study and ongoing study skills support. It encourages students to think about their talents and achievements, identify goals, plan for the future, write their CV, and prepare for interviews. The CamGuides introduce new students to the University of Cambridge and provide tools supporting academic success. The site includes short videos with reflections and advice from current undergraduates. Topics covered include:

  • How will I learn in Cambridge?
  • Where will I learn in Cambridge?
  • What academic skills will I develop?
  • How do I find books and articles from a reading list?
  • How do I reference and avoid plagiarism?

2.3.2 The Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow

In conjunction with Newnham College, Selwyn enjoys the part-time services of Writing Fellows funded by the Royal Literary Fund. In confidential, one-to-one tutorials, it is the Writing Fellow’s role to assist students with their essay-writing skills. The Writing Fellow in 2023-2024 is Claudine Toutoungi ( Any student wishing to set up one or more sessions with Claudine should contact her directly. The support the Writing Fellow provides is not solely intended to help improve academic writing, although that is the major focus of the advice they give. Nor should it be regarded as purely a remedial service. Many students writing at a very sophisticated level also benefit from the extra edge and clarity that the Writing Fellow can help them to achieve in their prose. It is also worth noting that this is not only useful for Arts students: the Writing Fellow is often a scientific author and all can benefit from their advice.

Click here for RLF flyer.

2.3.3 The Language Centre

The well-equipped Language Centre, located in Downing Place, runs courses in a number of languages. It also incorporates an Independent Learning Centre with audio-visual materials in an unrivalled range of languages. Anyone interested in using these facilities should visit the Enquiry Point located in the Centre. Those reading Modern Languages or Asian & Middle Eastern Studies are given tours of the Centre as part of their Faculty’s induction process. The Language Centre CULP programme provides courses in fifteen languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili and Turkish) and the ADTIS programme is designed to help students improve their English and academic skills.

The Language Centre also provides on-line language learning materials for University of Cambridge users. Resources include audios, videos, text, image and interactive exercises in a range of languages. There is an online catalogue of resources accessible from computers connected to the University network. The Language Centre charges fees for some of its courses. Selwyn students who complete such a course become eligible for a 50% reimbursement of the value of such course fees as are paid by the student, on production of the receipt and a copy of the certificate issued by the Language Centre. Please submit these to the Tutorial Office Manager.

The University is committed to a policy of ‘languages for all’. In addition to the Language Centre there are also other possibilities for language learning as part of your course. Consult your Director of Studies to check whether your course is one of those.