If you have decided to apply for a place at Cambridge University, then you will understandably be incredibly excited about what the future has to hold.

However, you will then need to make a decision about which college you would like to apply for.

Your university experience will be positive no matter which choice you make, however you may have preferences. This guide will help you to decide exactly which college is right for you, and how you can go about making the right choice.

1. Open applications

If you really don’t know which college to apply for, and you’re not too concerned about where you might be placed, then an open application might be the best one for you.

This is where university staff will assign you to a college. This will usually be a college with lower application levels, but this doesn’t mean that it might not be the perfect college for your needs.

2. College intakes

There are certain colleges that have limited intake – for example Lucy Cavendish and Newnham only accept women, and Clare Hall and Hughes Hall only accept mature students.

It is your choice about whether you want to go for a college like this or whether you would prefer a mix of people – there are benefits to both types.

There are also some colleges that only accept students on certain courses, so you can discount any immediately that don’t accept students from the course that you are applying for.

3. Location

Some people like to be right on the doorstep of where their lectures will be, and others prefer to be out of the way so that they can switch off when they’re not in class – and your preference will make a difference when it comes to which college you apply for.

If you choose one that is a little further away from the university buildings, you will need to make sure that you are able to get to classes each day.

4. Facilities

There is a huge amount of variation when it comes to the facilities that are available at each of the colleges.

For example, some have free internet, or free printing. Others have sports and leisure facilities.

Not everything will appeal to everyone, so it’s worth having a look around to see what each of the colleges has to offer, and then trying to make a decision based on that.

If you’re a musician, you won’t want to go to a college without either a provision of practice rooms, or the freedom to practice in bedrooms, for example.

It's also worth looking at the accommodation they provide for first year students. This will usually be halls, but it's always a good idea to see what they like and what amenities you will have access to.

5. Open days

If you can’t narrow down which college you’d like to go to, then a visit is important.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to get a “feel” for a place, and see whether you can really imagine yourself living there or not.

You may be surprised – a college that you were set upon might seem like somewhere you just wouldn’t want to be when you actually visit.

Check out our Open Day FAQS and ways to get the most out of an open day for more tips and advice.

6. Feedback

Nothing is better than being able to talk to other students, and the internet is a great resource for this.

A simple internet search allows you to see what other people think about the various colleges, and this information can be much more valuable than what you might read in articles written by the university, for example.

7. Making a decision

It's important you don't rush into your final choice - if you let the excitement get in your way, then you may find that you’re not making the right decision for your needs. Instead, you should be methodical, and weigh up the pros and cons of each one.

There will be many that you can discount immediately, but other decisions may be harder.

Ultimately, your university experience is what you make it, and although your choice of college is important, it isn’t something to worry too much about, provided you’ve done plenty of research.

Further information

For more tips and advice on applying to university, please see: