FAQ's page title


It's only natural that you will have questions in the lead up to starting university so we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on current and previous student feedback. If your question is not addressed here, you should consider getting in touch with your college or the SU.

Do I need to do all my summer work before arriving?

If you’ve been sent a really long reading list or an assignment to do, rest assured that lots of people won’t complete it. Do what you can, but don’t worry if you can’t get through much of the work or reading as well as you would like. You will be absolutely fine to get started in most subjects without doing all the recommended work. The most important thing is to arrive well rested and excited for the course!

Will there be activities organised for international freshers arriving early?

Our International Students’ Campaign works hard to organise things to do when you arrive. Follow them on Instagram to keep updated with what they have planned for you, and check our What’s On page on our website for all their events they’re running.  

I’m not able to attend the Freshers’ Fair, can I still join clubs and societies after the event?


Yes, you can still join clubs and societies after the Freshers’ Fair. Cambridge has close to 1,000 student-run clubs and societies, both university-wide and within colleges. This means that there’s a chance for you to get involved in lots of different activities at whatever level suits you. Cambridge SU runs a directory where clubs and societies have a page advertising what they do and publish their events. You can find all of this via the directory on our website.


I don’t feel comfortable attending a large event like the Freshers’ Fair, can I still access relevant information online?

We know not everyone will want to attened a large event,to ensure our fair is accessible to everyone we have put in place accessible hours on each day of the fair, where the noise level will be reduced and the capacity lowered. A full list of societies can be found on our website as well as events & our welcome guide.

I don't drink / I’m worried about peer pressure to drink

We understand that lots of students don’t drink for different reasons, and you should never have to do anything you’re not comfortable with. We will be hosting lots of alcohol-free events over the year for you – which will be tagged on our What’s On page and on the Cambridge SU website. If you feel harassed or pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with, you can contact our Student Advice Service who can help you with this.  

I have a disability, is there somewhere I can go for support?

Yes! The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is the main source of support for students who require reasonable adjustments as a result of a disability, physical or mental health condition or injury.

Will the workload be overwhelming?

Cambridge courses can be really demanding, so it’s okay if you struggle to adjust at first. For most subjects and supervisors it is absolutely fine to sometimes hand in incomplete work (like a plan instead of a full essay, or even to just do the reading), ask for extensions and sometimes not hand in assignments. Supervisors are usually very friendly and flexible and would much rather you weren’t suffering in silence. If you feel like a supervisor is not being receptive to concerns around workload, or you consistently struggle to meet deadlines, this is something to take up with your Director of Studies (DoS) who can advise you on the best way forward.

What if I don’t make friends straight away?

Everyone makes friends at different times and in different ways. There’ll be a variety of events where you can go to meet other members of your college, course mates and new friends. If you’re struggling to make friends try reaching out to your college Welfare Officer to find out what different types of events there are. There are also seven SU Campaigns you can get involved with, some of which run buddy schemes. Cambridge also has hundreds of clubs and societies you can join to meet other students with similar interests to you.

How can I find other BME students or International Students at Cambridge?

There are multiple ways you can connect with students within certain communities at Cambridge. You can join a society via our societies directory, and if you can't find one that fits what you are looking for, then you can always start a new one! You can also get involved with any of the SU Campaigns, which include the BME Campaign, Class Act Campaign, Disabled Students' Campaign, Ethical Affairs Campaign, International Students' Campaign, LGBT+ Campaign and the Women's Campaign. Each group has its own committee, events and campaigns that they run throughout the year.

What else happens during freshers’ week?

When you arrive you’ll be sent a timetable of events in your College and around the University by your JCR/MCR (Junior/Mature Common Room). The events on the timetable will be a mix of nights out and nights in, giving you casual ways to meet fellow students. There’ll be non-alcoholic options, and don’t feel pressured to attend any events you aren’t keen on – there are plenty of ways to make friends while you’re here so just do what you’re comfortable with. One of the first things that will happen when you arrive is that you will “matriculate” – it’s all very Harry Potter but without the sorting hat. It usually involves a group photo, a formal dinner and a ceremony where you shake someone’s hand and sign an enrolment agreement. Matriculating basically means fully enrolling into your college, but with a bit more ceremony. You may be required to buy a gown to matriculate in when you arrive (they’re around £40), but you might be able to buy a second hand one for cheaper. Postgraduate students can buy a gown from the SU Reception and Undergraduate students should purchase their gowns from their respective college supplier.

Who should I talk to if I’m struggling?

Every student has a Director of Studies (DoS) and Pastoral Tutor who work at/for their college. Your DoS largely looks after your academics and your Tutor supports your pastoral care, including your general wellbeing, finances and accommodation. Often if you have a problem you can talk to one of them, but really any staff member you trust will be able to help you!

Who can I go to if I want to change course?

The Student Advice Service offers free, confidential, and impartial advice and support to all Cambridge University students. You can come to the Student Advice Service with any issues or problems you might experience as a student, from making friends to working relationships, from exams to intermission, and from welfare concerns to finance.

Is there support available in my college if I am homesick?

Many people experience homesickness during their time at University. If you’re struggling with the transition to University or with moving away from home, there is help available. The University Counseling Service offers a selection of helpful resources for you to access, including some useful self help tips for homesickness. At your College, you should speak to your Tutor about problems you are having, who will be able to help you or signpost you to other people who can. Finally, if homesickness is contributing to more serious mental health problems, you can access professional support from the University Counselling Service or in some cases from your College.


Still got questions? 


If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch! You can do this by:

Sending us a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Or emailing enquiries@cambridgesu.co.uk