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    Hi everyone,

    My husband and I are applying to PhD programs at Cambridge for Psychology (him) and Linguistics (myself). I'm from the US and quite confused about the college system, and not sure which to choose as a preference on my application. Joint accommodation is important, and also being close to the supermarkets and the main library. I can't think of anything else that is important to us really. I have checked out many pros and cons for all the colleges but still not sure what to go with.

    I'm also wondering where we would be spending most of our time on campus as PhD students? Will it be at the college where our potential supervisors are located?

    Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

    Thx
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    I know St John's has family accommodation for postgrad students: my partner & I lived in one of their one-bed houses for two years. A good bit of their accommodation is central, and the rest is only 10-15 minutes' walk from the centre. The only problem is that St John's is very oversubscribed as a preference for postgrad students.

    In terms of where you'll be spending your time, will either of you be based in a lab? If not, then you will likely work in libraries, or at home. I usually only went to my supervisor's college for supervisions, which were typically every 2-4 weeks, but that will depend on your particular subject and supervisor. I mostly worked either in my college library, or at the UL. Later on, when I was writing up, I worked quite a bit from home.
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    I think Trinity has accommodation for couples. The college itself is sandwiched between the library and the town centre (which has smaller supermarket branches and at least one decently sized one).

    I'm afraid I'm not sure about your other questions, perhaps Doonesbury can help.
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    (Original post by ummj)
    Hi everyone,

    My husband and I are applying to PhD programs at Cambridge for Psychology (him) and Linguistics (myself). I'm from the US and quite confused about the college system, and not sure which to choose as a preference on my application. Joint accommodation is important, and also being close to the supermarkets and the main library. I can't think of anything else that is important to us really. I have checked out many pros and cons for all the colleges but still not sure what to go with.

    I'm also wondering where we would be spending most of our time on campus as PhD students? Will it be at the college where our potential supervisors are located?

    Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

    Thx
    I'm afraid there's not much good news here. You and your husbands applications will be treated entirely separately in terms of both admissions to the University and College allocation (unless there's a new rule I'm not aware of). College allocations for PGs are much more variable than they are for UG, and there is only something like a 25% chance you'll get your first choice of College anyway.

    There is no relationship between your Supervisor's College and the College that accepts you, though obviously sometimes they coincide, but there's no particular advantage.

    There are two irreconcilable facts about Cambridge geography - it's a small city and everywhere is near everywhere else - once you are in 'the bubble' everyone's perception of distance shrinks and a 5 minute walk seems like a slog! Broadly, by 'in the bubble' standards, there is no supermarket close to the University library - in fact there are no shops near the UL, they are at least an 8 minute walk away!

    Very few Colleges have much couples accommodation, about the only good news I have is that with two of you, you have double the chance of getting some (if you apply to different Colleges). Be prepared to be in separate Colleges and just hope that's not Girton and Homerton!

    There is no campus at Cambridge. The Colleges and the Schools, college accommodation, the UL etc are scattered throughout the town, with everyday business going on all around. There's no boundary between the University buildings, the Colleges and the high street, shops, market etc. It's entirely up to you whether you establish your social life in your room, in your College, with a Society or Sports Club, or in town. People do whatever they like in any proportion of those options. The only thing you can't do (according to the rules) is swan off out of Cambridge every weekend, you have to 'keep term'.

    If you are only applying now, for this year, then you are late, so don't bother with any of the old, traditional town centre Colleges, I'd go for Selwyn, Robinson, Darwin or Wolfson, maybe Fitz - though I don't know how much couples accom any of them have.
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    (Original post by gutenberg)
    I know St John's has family accommodation for postgrad students: my partner & I lived in one of their one-bed houses for two years. A good bit of their accommodation is central, and the rest is only 10-15 minutes' walk from the centre. The only problem is that St John's is very oversubscribed as a preference for postgrad students.

    In terms of where you'll be spending your time, will either of you be based in a lab? If not, then you will likely work in libraries, or at home. I usually only went to my supervisor's college for supervisions, which were typically every 2-4 weeks, but that will depend on your particular subject and supervisor. I mostly worked either in my college library, or at the UL. Later on, when I was writing up, I worked quite a bit from home.
    Thanks for your reply! Sounds good. I was leaning toward St. John's, though I know it is very competitive. How did you like the accommodation?

    I won't be lab based so I don't think that would be an issue..
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    I'm afraid there's not much good news here. You and your husbands applications will be treated entirely separately in terms of both admissions to the University and College allocation (unless there's a new rule I'm not aware of). College allocations for PGs are much more variable than they are for UG, and there is only something like a 25% chance you'll get your first choice of College anyway.

    There is no relationship between your Supervisor's College and the College that accepts you, though obviously sometimes they coincide, but there's no particular advantage.

    There are two irreconcilable facts about Cambridge geography - it's a small city and everywhere is near everywhere else - once you are in 'the bubble' everyone's perception of distance shrinks and a 5 minute walk seems like a slog! Broadly, by 'in the bubble' standards, there is no supermarket close to the University library - in fact there are no shops near the UL, they are at least an 8 minute walk away!

    Very few Colleges have much couples accommodation, about the only good news I have is that with two of you, you have double the chance of getting some (if you apply to different Colleges). Be prepared to be in separate Colleges and just hope that's not Girton and Homerton!

    There is no campus at Cambridge. The Colleges and the Schools, college accommodation, the UL etc are scattered throughout the town, with everyday business going on all around. There's no boundary between the University buildings, the Colleges and the high street, shops, market etc. It's entirely up to you whether you establish your social life in your room, in your College, with a Society or Sports Club, or in town. People do whatever they like in any proportion of those options. The only thing you can't do (according to the rules) is swan off out of Cambridge every weekend, you have to 'keep term'.

    If you are only applying now, for this year, then you are late, so don't bother with any of the old, traditional town centre Colleges, I'd go for Selwyn, Robinson, Darwin or Wolfson, maybe Fitz - though I don't know how much couples accom any of them have.
    Thanks for your reply!

    I don't think I am late because my deadline is June 30th and I am submitting my application in a few days so I am quite early actually. I am not sure what you meant by not bothering with any of the town center colleges?
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    (Original post by ummj)
    Hi everyone,

    My husband and I are applying to PhD programs at Cambridge for Psychology (him) and Linguistics (myself). I'm from the US and quite confused about the college system, and not sure which to choose as a preference on my application. Joint accommodation is important, and also being close to the supermarkets and the main library. I can't think of anything else that is important to us really. I have checked out many pros and cons for all the colleges but still not sure what to go with.

    I'm also wondering where we would be spending most of our time on campus as PhD students? Will it be at the college where our potential supervisors are located?

    Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

    Thx
    threeportdrift has covered most of basic info on PG accommodation at Cambridge, but just to add a few things.....
    Not all PG students will be housed by their college as they simply do not have enough PG accommodation. Also, as mentioned already, the number of family accommodation is quite limited.
    Many colleges may be able to offer their accommodation (single or family) In the first year but may not be able to do so in subsequent years.
    So I’d think it’s better to be mentally/financially-prepared that you may have to go for private rent at one stage during your study there or even all through your stay in Cambridge.
    The university can assist you in pointing you to a right direction (but they won’t directly get in the contract)
    https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk...dation-service
    but there’re many estate agents that’s good in housing university students/academics because it’s a university town.

    As already mentioned, there’s a small branch of supermarket (Sainsbury’s) in the town centre but University Library is a bit away from the centre in the west where there’s no shops.
    You many not spend/have to go to UL as much as you’re now assuming, anyway, though, as all departments have their own well stocked library and many of the books in UL are now digitised and you can access them from your laptop. Also, each colleg has their own library, so if you happen to live close to them you may prefer to work there than in UL.

    Unlike undergraduate accommodation which is either on the main college site or (usuallly, but not always) very close by, many PG accommodation tend t be a bit away from the college site.

    If you want big supermarkets, they’re all quite away from the town centre that you need a long bike ride (or even drive) to get to.

    Cambridge is really not big at all.
    Most of places you need to get to in normal daily life are within 5 min bike ride, 10min at most even if your accommodation is off the town centre.

    Edit:
    Churchill claims they offer the best accommodation provisions for PG but I have no idea how true it is.
    https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/study-us/p...accommodation/

    They’re in the northwest of Cambridge town centre and easily walkable distance to Sidgwick site/UL.
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    From what I gather, college couples accommodation in Cambridge is pretty limited so there's a good chance you'll end up renting privately whatever you choose. However, you can maximise your chances by each picking different colleges that you know offer some form of family accommodation as your first and second choices.

    If it helps, my friend lived in couples accommodation with her boyfriend through Lucy Cavendish College, which was quite nice. It's a mature women's college so if you're a woman over 21 you could apply.
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    (Original post by ummj)
    Thanks for your reply!

    I don't think I am late because my deadline is June 30th and I am submitting my application in a few days so I am quite early actually. I am not sure what you meant by not bothering with any of the town center colleges?
    The bulk of applications are made in Nov, Dec, Jan for the following October. The earlier you make your application, the more time you have to hunt for funding and the more Colleges will have spaces, so the greater chance you have of getting your first choice. Most courses are making their decisions now, the bulk of decisions start coming out in Mid Feb through to Mid April. The well-known town centre Colleges, that the bulk of overseas students apply for, Trinity, St Johns, Kings etc will more or less be full by now. There will always be niche acceptances, scholarship places, returning undergrads etc, but if you apply now with and exclusive combination of old, traditional touristy Colleges you are almost certain to get Wolfson, Hughes or Homerton which fill much later. Unless you are applying for a specifically funded PhD that has its own timeline, then I'm afraid you are getting late and a College allocation will be a lottery.
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    (Original post by Amanzhol)
    I think Trinity has accommodation for couples. The college itself is sandwiched between the library and the town centre (which has smaller supermarket branches and at least one decently sized one).

    I'm afraid I'm not sure about your other questions, perhaps Doonesbury can help.
    Thanks for the tag but postgrad is very much threeportdrift's domain
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    (Original post by ummj)
    Thanks for your reply! Sounds good. I was leaning toward St. John's, though I know it is very competitive. How did you like the accommodation?

    I won't be lab based so I don't think that would be an issue..
    The accommodation is fine. Not amazing, but certainly not dreadful, though there is variation: John's have been systematically renovating their accommodation over the past decade, so some buildings are lovely and new, while some are dated and really need an upgrade, and it is something of a lottery.

    I will echo threeportdrift's point though that you are relatively late in applying to start this autumn (I applied the October before I started, for instance), and so getting into John's at this point is very unlikely. Looking at alternative colleges would be advisable.
 
 
 

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