Selwyn College, Cambridge

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Selwyn College

Established: 1882

University: University of Cambridge

Address: Grange Road

Telephone: 01223335896


Student Union/JCR website:

Graduate/MCR website: no

Admittance: Undergraduates and Postgraduates (Men and women)


Student Statistics

  • Total Undergraduates in 2009-10 = 403 (210 men + 193 women)
  • Total Undergraduates in 2008-09 = 386 (214 men + 172 women)
  • Total Undergraduates in 2007-08 = 383 (209 men + 174 women)
  • Total Undergraduates in 2006-07 = 388 (216 men + 172 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 09: 132 (65 men + 67 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 08: 129 (74 men + 55 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 07: 120 (66 men + 54 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 06: 127 (67 men + 60 women)

Source: The Reporter

Selwyn Application Statistics See College applications and admissions statistics

Selwyn Application Statistics per subject See Appplication Statistics

73.1% of Selwyn acceptances in 2010 and 68.5% in 2009 were from state school students (source).


Selwyn College is located on Grange Road, a 10-minute walk west of the city centre. Being small and slightly secluded, Selwyn maintains its reputation as a very friendly college (and doesn't have all those pesky tourists that plague King's!), but is close enough to town for even the most extroverted of its students never to feel claustrophobic (unlike those poor people at Girton or Homerton). Selwyn is adjacent to the Sidgwick Site and is near Newnham College and Robinson College.

Selwyn old court


Old Court

Old Court, the main court of Selwyn College where the chapel, Hall and Porters' Lodge are situated, houses many second-, third- and fourth-year students (as well as the occasional first-year). Additionally, the Master's Lodge is situated near the chapel. There are many teaching rooms and fellows' rooms in Old Court, as well as the Old and New Senior Combination Rooms (SCR) and the Fellows' Parlour. Rent in these rooms ranges from £90-£150 a week and vary in size and facilities accordingly ie. some rooms are ensuite or have a separate bedroom. As Old Court is the 'main' part of the college, you're not allowed to walk on the grass in the court!


Cripps Court

Cripps Court is an accommodation block, predominantly for first years, large enough to accommodate all or nearly all Selwyn's annual intake of students and can be found over the road from the main part of Selwyn College, on the intersection of Grange Road and Cranmer Road. All of the rooms are ensuite and are priced at around £140 per week; students have their own toilet, sink and shower. There is a gyp (small kitchen) on each corridor, usually shared between 8 with a hob, table, chairs and a microwave. Some rooms are sets, with the living area separate to the bedroom, and cost slightly more. Generally, you will get assigned a room and won't have a choice in the matter. Most rooms are quite small, and are typically sufficiently well furnished with plenty of storage space, a large desk with a lamp, a pinboard, a couple of bookshelves and a couple of chairs, and a small table.

Ann's Court

Ann's Court, where the library is situated, houses the remainder of the students, as well as containing the JCR (Junior Combination Room, the undergraduates' common room), TV room, a computer room, and administration offices. It has four main accomodation blocks at present. Each Ann's Court room has an ensuite bathroom and toilet, making it a popular choice of accomodation for second years. The JCR contains a table football table, pool table, a small TV for the Nintendo Wii, giant Jenga, an assortment of board games, and will soon have an air hockey table, all of which are free to use. The TV room has a massive 50-inch TV, Xbox 360, Blu-Ray and DVD player with surround sound, and comfy cinema-style seats - great for watching movies or gaming - and can be booked on the sheet outside. It also has a kitchen area and comfy sofas and seats. Ann's Court is set to be expanded over the next twenty years (funding permitting), including a new library, more accomodation, and perhaps building of a theatre/auditorium (or even more accommodation instead). Upon completion, there will be a Library Court between Ann's Court and Old Court.

The Hostels

Selwyn also owns several hostels, all within 5 minutes walking distance of the main college site, on Grange Road and West Road (Nos. 17, 21 and 23). These are all fairly large, each housing up to 10 students. The hostels are popular with groups of second and third year students. The rooms vary in size but are generally well furnished and the kitchens are far better equipped than Old Court, Cripps, or Ann's - most houses have both a freezer and an oven.

Social Spaces


Selwyn boasts extensive beautiful gardens adjacent to the chapel, accessible from both Old Court (during the day when the gate is open) and Ann's Court. The gardens are in frequent use (when the weather's nice) and provide an excellent space to relax, hang around with friends or read.


Selwyn bar is well known for its unattractive colour scheme, but apart from that there's not much to complain about. It sells a wide selection of drinks, ranging from beer to cocktails to spirits. Despite its small size, it is a popular place of students to spend time in and socialise, especially before and after Formal.

JCR / TV room

The JCR (Junior Combination Room), located under Ann's Court, is a good social space for undergraduates of the university, containing a pool table, a table football table, couches, vending machines, daily newspapers and a games cupboard, and is also connected to the TV room, which has a large widescreen plasma TV perfect for watching movies on. It also contains a small bar which, although rarely open and serving drinks, sells a small selection of sweets every day from 6-7 (Not sure if this is true any more).


Selwyn Hall serves three meals a day except on Sundays (where breakfast and lunch are combined to make brunch). Food is fairly overpriced, although most people choose to eat in Hall, though it is by no means compulsory, and mealtimes are social occasions and opportunities to relax after a hard day's studying / procrastination, or before an all-nighter to get that essay in that you meant to do yesterday. Meals are served in the canteen before being taken through to be eaten at long tables in Hall. The food sucks.

Selwyn formal hall takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Currently we're still labouring under the good old system of queueing the week beforehand to buy tickets, but Selwyn formal is one of the best in Cambridge and was voted fourth best college formal by Varsity. Tickets are priced at £10.50 for members of the college and £12.40 for guests. Each person can buy up to three tickets, and formals sometimes sell out a week in advance! As the name suggests (though you wouldn't believe it to look at some other colleges' formals!), the event is formal and members of Selwyn must wear suits and gowns. Guests must wear suits but should not wear gowns. The food is invariably excellent, and formals are a great start to a night out, whether at Cindies or in the bar, or can be enjoyed as a social occasion in their own right, as often happens towards the start of term with college families.

Library and Computing


Selwyn's library is situated between Old and Ann's Courts and contains most books needed for first- and second-year undergraduates' courses. There is ample space provided to work, as well to use a laptop. The library also contains a wide selection of DVDs that may be hired out, without charge, any time that the library is staffed (generally from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday).

University Library

The UL is very close to Selwyn, no more than a five minute walk, and will contain almost any book or journal you need for any level of study. All students and fellows of the university are allowed to use the UL for reference and borrowing.

Computer rooms

Selwyn contains three computer rooms, one in B staircase in Old Court, one in J staircase in Cripps Court, and one in the basement of Ann's Court beneath Q and R staircases. All are free to use by members of Selwyn only (log-on using your CRSID and UCS password), and both are equipped with printers and scanners (though the room in J only contains a black and white printer; there are colour printers in B and Ann's). Printing is 6p per black and white A4 side, 12p per colour A4 side, and is set to default to double-sided printing.

Ethernet connection in room

Of course, for those who have their own computers or laptops, a high-speed (up to 100Mbps) Ethernet connection is provided in every room in Selwyn for around £30 per term. Ethernet cables can be borrowed from the Porters' Lodge with a £2 deposit fee. Once your computer has passed the necessary security checks (checking for antivirus software, firewalls etc.) it is automatically set up to connect to the Selwyn network. There is a bandwidth limit of 5GB a day and 15GB per seven days; if you exceed either of these, your connection speed will be automatically throttled. The obvious restrictions apply; despite being primarily for work, use of the connection for personal use is allowed, but don't do illegal things with it. You're asked to accept a load of terms and conditions before connecting to the network. Do read through them; people do get fined or even sent down for illegal use of the network.

Academic Performance

Selwyn's ranking in the Tompkins Table, which ranks colleges by their Tripos exam results in the previous 5 years is as follows: 7th (2011) 6th (2010) 3rd (2009) 1st (2008) 4th (2007)


Selwyn was declared the 20th sportiest Cambridge College in Michealmas 2009 by The Tab. See The Tab article: The College Cup revealed


The welfare system in Cambridge, and in Selwyn in particular, is unrivalled. Before matriculation, each new undergraduate is assigned a college family - that is, a college mother and a college father, normally second or third years, and one or two college siblings. Generally, one of the parents studies the same subject as the child. These are around to help you through your first term at Selwyn, but may stick around for longer. They will sometimes get in touch with you before term starts; this is a perfect opportunity for you to ask any niggling little questions that you don't feel are important enough to warrant a phone call to the admissions office or a visit to a tutor, but which you're worried about and would like your mind to be put at rest over. There is also a JCR welfare system, and two JCR welfare officers (both undergraduates; one male, one female) as well as an LBGT officer, are around if you feel you need to speak to someone about any welfare problems you may have.

Each student is also assigned a senior member of staff, a tutor, before arriving in Cambridge. The tutor's job is to ensure you settle in easily and aren't running into trouble. Tutors should be your first port of call if you feel something is wrong and you can't sort it out alone or need someone to talk to, whether that be financial trouble, bullying, or anything else. Your tutor will be available to contact via email throughout term and possibly also over the vacations. You will also see your tutor at the start and end of each term, to make sure you've "kept term" (i.e. remained in Cambridge throughout term) and so that you can discuss anything that might be on your mind. Your tutor generally will not study or lecture your subject, and should not be confused with a supervisor, a member of staff who will give supervisions (tutorials) in small groups on your subject (often referred to as a tutor at other universities, but not at Cambridge!).

You are also assigned a Director of Studies (DoS) each year. Your DoS will be a fellow specialising in your area of study, and will be responsible for your ensuring your academic progress over the year goes as smoothly as possible. You may be supervised by your DoS, particularly in the first term. He or she will also be available to contact during the year if you feel you are not progressing as well as you feel you should be.

Additionally, the College Nurse and the Dean of Chapel also deal with welfare issues confidentially if you feel more comfortable talking to someone you don't know.


Selwyn has a very friendly atmosphere. Being a relatively small college, you get to know people very quickly, and since you will spend most of your time in college, Selwyn has a very 'homely' feel. It is also close enough to town for you to escape if you feel you have to, but sufficiently far away to avoid the tourists walking round your home at all hours of the day.


There are music practice rooms avaliable for any member of college to practice an instrument. These may be booked through the Porters' Lodge. All Music students have a piano in their room every year, and they can also book the Steinway grand piano in the Hall for recording/practise. There is a brand new gym in Cripps Court with a treadmill, weights, ergs and exercise bikes (although it is relatively small).

Student-eye view

Very subjective, but I think Selwyn would rate in most peoples top 10 prettiest colleges, and would regularly appear in a top 5. Although it is not ancient, it has striking Victorian Late Perpendicular Gothic architecture and fantastic gardens. It is a very friendly and sociable college, with people always around to spend social time with.





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