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    To answer OP's question, I'd say there really is quite a big difference between colleges - not to say one is better than others overall, but simply that some people suit different colleges. Things you'll want to think about:

    - Location (personally I think this is the most important 'cause I'm a bit lazy, I'm always cursing having to cycle up and down that dratted hill to the Chemistry dept the other end of town)

    - Costs (no idea why the people who gave the Oxbridge talk at my sixth form said they're the same at every college, they really aren't. Some colleges have MUCH cheaper average rents than others, or have cheaper food, and don't forget to look at hidden costs such as the kitchen charges and WiFi charges)

    - Facilities (all colleges have things like a library, some kind of sports facilities, a music room, etc. but if you do a slightly more niche sport, e.g. squash, not every college has easily accessible courts)

    - Accommodation (colleges are essentially glorified halls of residence with a bit of teaching and social stuff attached - so if possible visit the colleges and check out their accommodation options. Do you want a decent kitchen? They're pretty hard to find in most Cambridge colleges... Do you prefer modern rooms or older ones with 'character'? Is having a view of pretty gardens important? Do you want to live on the main college site every year? Does the college have an off-site accommodation complex absolutely miles away?)

    Things not to think about:

    - Fellows (they are constantly changing anyway, and there's no guarantee they'll supervise you)

    - Reputation (most teaching is done centrally, don't be drawn to a particular college just because it's old and well-known, a less famous college (with correspondingly less tourists...) might suit you better)

    - Wealth (OK, richer colleges tend to have slightly cheaper accommodation and benefits like sports/ music scholarships, but don't just pick a college because it's rich - they could still be super stingy and you'll never see the money... instead check out things like accommodation prices and the finances sections of each college's website)

    There's probably a few more things I'll think of later to add to this, but it's a start. Let me know if you have any questions, particularly relating to Murray Edwards but I'll have a go at other ones too
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    Wanting to apply to a mature college thar allowed male undergrads rather restricted my choice.

    Wilfson required a transcript or something which i did not have so by the process of elimination, Hughes Hall was left.
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    Oh yeah, also don't look at admissions statistics all that much - they vary sooooo much every year and can't give you the full picture. If you really like a college, apply to it. Admissions stats only really help you if you really don't care about which college you end up in but have one or two you particularly want to avoid (e.g. Girton if you can't ride a bike...) so want to pick a less 'competitive' one to reduce the risk of being pooled.

    Don't pick a supposedly less competitive one because you think you're more likely to get an offer from Cambridge that way though - that's not how it works. Less 'competitive' colleges would much rather take someone from the pool than someone with lower grades who directly applied there.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Murray Edwards is also a women-only college.

    So much for your substance...
    as I said ...

    (Original post by mariachi)
    neither jneill nor vincrows have proved my points wrong. They have clearly focused on marginal details, and avoided the substance
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    I applied to quite a small and new course, so statistics were complete chaos (and it is not recommended looking at anyways). I knew my grades were quite well, and did not rule out any of the classical "tier 1" colleges (If I might call them that). So I ended up looking at the wibe of the college, the facilities they offered (large lawns, 24/7 library, gym, possibility of having my own room, food etc), location (was there a shop near by, how far to go to my lectures etc) and the specialization of my DOS. Had I known that Christ's had a cat and a dog (!!!) I might've just changed it all up, hahah. I ended up feeling a bit odd when I was called for my interviews, and did not enjoy the vibe of the college as much as I had thought I would, so if you have the opportunity - definitely take a stop by and see for yourself. Whatever college you choose, you might just be happier to be pooled in the end - they are all great
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    - Costs (no idea why the people who gave the Oxbridge talk at my sixth form said they're the same at every college, they really aren't. Some colleges have MUCH cheaper average rents than others, or have cheaper food, and don't forget to look at hidden costs such as the kitchen charges and WiFi charges)
    Good post (PRSOM!)

    This point is frustratingly hard to compare across colleges.

    There's a FOI request that helps a bit:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/simil...duate_living_2
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Oh yeah, also don't look at admissions statistics all that much - they vary sooooo much every year and can't give you the full picture. If you really like a college, apply to it. Admissions stats only really help you if you really don't care about which college you end up in but have one or two you particularly want to avoid (e.g. Girton if you can't ride a bike...) so want to pick a less 'competitive' one to reduce the risk of being pooled.

    Don't pick a supposedly less competitive one because you think you're more likely to get an offer from Cambridge that way though - that's not how it works. Less 'competitive' colleges would much rather take someone from the pool than someone with lower grades who directly applied there.
    true, admissions statistics vary a lot, but there are some basic trends and factors which have been there for years, and most likely will take years to disappear (if they will)

    one of these trends and factors is that some of the older and more "hogwartsy" colleges are consistently, heavily oversubscribed, while newer colleges (often located outside central Cambridge, or single-sex) are, in comparison, undersubscribed

    I am not advocating any sort of preference . I am simply advising people that if (and I repeat if) they would dislike being admitted to one of those undersubscribed colleges, they should, logically

    -avoid making an open application (just check where most open applications are are allocated)

    -avoid applying to heavily oversubscribed colleges. If you are pooled, it is much more likely that you will be snapped up by an undersubscribed college than by the rest

    so, once again . This is simply about how to decrease your chances of being admitted to an unwanted college. Not about the reasons why you should strongly desire one particular college or why you should detest it.

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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    Oh yeah, also don't look at admissions statistics all that much - they vary sooooo much every year and can't give you the full picture. If you really like a college, apply to it. Admissions stats only really help you if you really don't care about which college you end up in but have one or two you particularly want to avoid (e.g. Girton if you can't ride a bike...) so want to pick a less 'competitive' one to reduce the risk of being pooled.

    Don't pick a supposedly less competitive one because you think you're more likely to get an offer from Cambridge that way though - that's not how it works. Less 'competitive' colleges would much rather take someone from the pool than someone with lower grades who directly applied there.
    Yup.
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    When I applied I concentrated mainly on location (thinking I wanted to specialising in Physics though, so now totally the wrong end of town...), accommodation (or at least the very limited range of rooms shown on the open day, which was basically just the nicest room in every college) and I have to admit statistics (coming from a state school background with parents with very little knowledge of the university admissions system despite having really good grades I guess I still didn't feel confident enough to apply to some of the other colleges which may have suited me better).

    Murray Edwards also had a much stronger focus on careers, with weekly workshops and exclusive internships which really attracted me to the college. Unfortunately I didn't research thoroughly the accommodation costs and options (despite most of this info being online) since I was under the impression that they were really the same between colleges (I went to a standard state school, so this was based on what the admissions officers/ students who gave us a talk told us at some point). I'd say Murray Edwards is great if you're very career-focused, like free holidays (we have awesome travel grants/ scholarships), enjoy more relaxed/ pretty surroundings out of the centre of town, and aren't so worried about saving money (they'll always make sure you can afford the accommodation, there are hardship grants etc. available if not, but if you don't want to spend all of your loan on basic living costs it's not so ideal...).

    In hindsight, I wish I'd considered costs and accommodation more, couldn't have done much about location except realising how much I hated physics earlier, and I really shouldn't have bothered worrying about statistics. If you're good enough to get in, you'll get in, no matter where you apply.
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    (Original post by m1m2)
    Whatever college you choose, you might just be happier to be pooled in the end - they are all great
    you are right - of course, this could happen. But we are talking at present about people who want to avoid certain specific colleges - for good reasons or bad reasons

    best
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Good post (PRSOM!)

    This point is frustratingly hard to compare across colleges.

    There's a FOI request that helps a bit:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/simil...duate_living_2
    Interesting...

    Yeah, it's really annoying - also doesn't help that each college allocated accommodation to specific price categories in different ways (so you couldn't easily compare the costs of 'category 3 rooms' for example), has different quantities of rooms available in each category, and has lots of hidden costs (kitchen fee, laundry fee, internet fee, electricity fee, water fee, etc.) which just makes it impossible to really compare things properly. I seem to remember reading an article in the Tab (yeah, I know, not the most reliable source generally...) which had some pretty bar charts comparing average or minimum rents or something, but possibly excluding these extra costs I'm not sure...

    (Original post by mariachi)
    true, admissions statistics vary a lot, but there are some basic trends and factors which have been there for years, and most likely will take years to disappear (if they will)

    one of these trends and factors is that some of the older and more "hogwartsy" colleges are consistently, heavily oversubscribed, while newer colleges (often located outside central Cambridge, or single-sex) are, in comparison, undersubscribed

    I am not advocating any sort of preference . I am simply advising people that if (and I repeat if) they would dislike being admitted to one of those undersubscribed colleges, they should, logically

    -avoid making an open application (just check where most open applications are are allocated)

    -avoid applying to heavily oversubscribed colleges. If you are pooled, it is much more likely that you will be snapped up by an undersubscribed college than by the rest

    so, once again . This is simply about how to decrease your chances of being admitted to an unwanted college. Not about the reasons why you should strongly desire one particular college or why you should detest it.

    Best
    This is pretty much exactly what I said - it's all about avoiding a college you don't want to be pooled too.

    But really, don't worry too much about statistics - they don't give you the full picture and can sometimes be quite misleading (e.g. if you look at the success rate of direct applicants to my college, Murray Edwards, it is super low - not because there is a high applicantlace ratio, but because they get a lot of less qualified applicants due to students being mislead by things like statistics that it's somehow easier to get into Cambridge by applying to less popular colleges).
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    (Original post by mariachi)
    you are right - of course, this could happen. But we are talking at present about people who want to avoid certain specific colleges - for good reasons or bad reasons

    best
    Why not take your discussion to the CAT's thread and see how it turns out. It's de-railing this thread.

    Thanks.
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    IThis is pretty much exactly what I said - it's all about avoiding a college you don't want to be pooled too.
    true

    however, I was irritated that this obvious consideration was somehow (and not very rationally) denied by some of the local pundits on this thread, who simply repeat the official line

    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    But really, don't worry too much about statistics - they don't give you the full picture and can sometimes be quite misleading.
    this is true if you are trying to be admitted to some specific college, or to Cambridge in general

    but, as said, I was talking of a different issue, i.e. if people want to improve their chances of avoiding some specific colleges

    again : the point is not whether they should or should not, but how to proceed if they do want

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    (Original post by jneill)
    Why not take your discussion to the CAT's thread and see how it turns out. It's de-railing this thread.

    Thanks.
    Don't worry, I think that I made my points very clearly, and there is not much to add to them

    you don't seem to like very much that opinions you disagree with are being posted, by the way...

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    (Original post by mariachi)
    or to Cambridge in general
    Which is, after all, the primary goal. Anyway as you've said - you've made your point. Thanks. Bye.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Murray Edwards is also a women-only college.

    So much for your substance...
    jneill, I appreciate you going around this forum answering applicants' questions and concerns and do believe you provide a valuable service to this community. But in this thread I think you're being intentionally obtuse / rude and it is somewhat off-putting. There are valid arguments to be had, but instead of letting them speak for themselves I feel you are just nitpicking and resorting to ad hominem -attacks.

    I think it is reasonable to have applicants take a look at the admissions statistics and see how things are. I don't believe playing with the statistics is very effective in the application process - due to the variety of variables and random factors in the process and the difficulty of assessing oneself - but in principle the argument could be made on an aggregate scale. I can understand if you disagree here and that's cool.
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    (Original post by eniet)
    jneill, I appreciate you going around this forum answering applicants' questions and concerns and do believe you provide a valuable service to this community. But in this thread I think you're being intentionally obtuse / rude and it is somewhat off-putting. There are valid arguments to be had, but instead of letting them speak for themselves I feel you are just nitpicking and resorting to ad hominem -attacks.

    I think it is reasonable to have applicants take a look at the admissions statistics and see how things are. I don't believe playing with the statistics is very effective in the application process - due to the variety of variables and random factors in the process and the difficulty of assessing oneself - but in principle the argument could be made on an aggregate scale. I can understand if you disagree with this and that is fine.
    What does Cambridge say on the matter of using admissions statistics to chose a college?

    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...sing-a-college

    "How NOT to choose a College

    We're aware that a small number of myths exist about ways of choosing a College, but you shouldn't base your decision on a misconception, such as those below.

    Based on application statistics. Some applicants think, or are wrongly advised, that choosing a College that attracts fewer applications or making an open application will increase their chance of being made an offer. In fact, careful ongoing analysis of our admissions statistics shows that, for equally well-qualified applicants, making an open application or applying directly to a College does not affect your chance of being made an offer of a place. This is because we have rigorous procedures in place to compare all applicants for each subject before selection decisions are finalised. Strong applicants who’ve been squeezed out by the competition at their original College can be made an offer by another College through the pool. Colleges would rather admit a strong applicant from the pool than a weaker applicant who applied directly to them."

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