I'm at Cambridge. I made an account just to post this:
IT IS IRRELEVANT WHICH COLLEGE YOU CHOOSE.
All that matters is that you are in the university. You will have a great experience at any college, and you will love whichever college you end up in.
JUST MAKE SURE YOU GET IN!!!
Be organised with dates of applications, tests and submissions. Do a bit of interview practice, but don't over prepare (you'll seem cliched and robotic). And, GET. YOUR. GRADES.
In terms of choosing colleges, here's a bit more advice
- Apply for a college which actually does your subject (Pembroke doesn't do Geography, for example.
- Check out college websites, just in case, for admissions requirements. I went on an open day at Johns in my Gap Yah, knowing my results, and was handed a leaflet which quoted an offer higher than the standard uni offer. THAT WAS FOR IB which unis tend to misunderstand, though.
- Go on an open day if you can.
Guys, try not to apply for Murray Edwards or Newnham. It probs won't work out.
Assume you'll get your chosen college. You might well be pooled. You won't care after the first week of term.
Do not set your heart on Trinity because it has a large court. Do not set your heart on Kings because you like the chapel. Do not set your heart on John's, because no-one likes John's (joke). My college looks hideous: we revel in this fact.
Do not think that distance from town matters. I live halfway to Girton and it takes me 5 minutes to get to the town centre.
Do not use application statistics as an oracle. You can use them to justify a choice, and they can be useful for narrowing things down, but are a dubious method: A GOOD INTERVIEW IS MORE IMPORTANT
Do not choose a college based on what the tutors are into.
TRY NOT TO WORRY TOO MUCH! Applying for Cambridge (and Oxford) is a hideously stressful process made so much worse by the assumptions and expectations of everyone else.
IF YOU DON'T GET IN, IT IS FINE.
There's such hype around Oxbridge: they are really good universities, but ultimately, they're just universities. Most applicants do not get in. And that means nothing about your potential, past work, ability and background. It also means nothing about your future.
I really hope this helps,
Good luck to all of you!