General FAQs

Here are the answers to some frequently asked question about what will happen between accepting your offer and arriving at Newnham in October.

What should I do if I miss my offer?

If you have a conditional offer and narrowly miss your grades, Newnham generally advise that you phone college as soon as you can on results day to tell them your exact marks (as universities can only see your overall grade, not your specific marks). Usually, you will be sent a letter earlier in the summer telling you what to do, so make sure to look out for this!

What are college parents?

When you’ve confirmed your place after results day, you will be given two or three college mums who are in the year above you, and it’s normally organised so that where possible one of them will do your subject. They’ll be in contact with you before term begins so you can ask them all sorts of questions and it also means you’ll already have someone you know at Newnham when you come to moving in. During the first week of term you’ll probably have a ‘family night’ where you get to spend some time with your college parents and siblings.

Don’t be afraid to ask them all sorts of things, whether it’s about your subject, about life at Newnham or even about what to pack!

When will I be told my room number?

You won’t find out your room number until you get here on the day, but this doesn’t matter too much as all of the rooms tend to have the same basic furniture in. At Newnham all the different year groups live together, so your room could be in any one of the buildings. When you arrive someone friendly will show you to your room and the porters will tell you where is best to park cars so you can carry all your luggage up.

What things to I need to bring with me (kitchen stuff, bedding… )?

All rooms come with basic furniture including a desk and chair, wardrobe and a bin. College also provides curtains and a lamp, but any room decorations you will need to bring yourself (but no blu-tack!). Some important things you may want to think about bringing include: hangers for your wardrobe, picture hooks to hang decorations on, a clock for your room, all your kitchen equipment (although maybe wait to see if people in your kitchen want to club together to buy a kettle and toaster rather than all bringing your own!).

College provides bed linen and a towel, and you can take it to the linen room each week to get a new set, but you can bring your own if you prefer (which plenty of people do!).

What facilities are there?

Kitchens will have communal fridges, hobs, microwaves, and most (but not all) have ovens in as well. You’ll have a cupboard in your kitchen to put your food and cooking stuff in, but will need to bring all of your own saucepans, plates and cutlery etc.

College has its own gym which has a couple of treadmills, rowing machines, exercise bikes, weights equipment and lots of other sporting equipment – it’s quite basic, but is free to use and can be accessed at any time with your college card. Newnham also has its own tennis and netball courts, which are at the bottom of our sports field.

Should you feel creative, there is an art room stocked full of supplies for you to use, as well as two music practice rooms.

What are Freshers’ and International Freshers’ weeks like?

International Freshers’ week begins first, so that there is more time to get settled and general sort things out, such as visas and mobile phone networks before term starts. As well as lots of current students being around to help you find places and generally be helpful, there will also be loads of social events on, so that you can meet some other freshers.

Most UK students arrive the weekend before term starts (term always starts on a Tuesday, although lectures begin on a Thursday – it’s not worth trying to understand, there is no logic!). The first few days will be fairly busy with introduction talks, the Societies Fair, matriculation – which is when you officially become part of Newnham – and meetings with your academic tutor (Director of Studies) and personal tutor. In between, Newnham runs lots of social events and chances to get to know other students. These range from quiz, film and ice cream nights to clubbing, so there will always be a choice of events (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) events to go to.

Freshers and International Freshers weeks are run by two current students, so they know what sort of things are both helpful and good fun – you’ll hear from them in between confirming your place after results days and coming up in October!

I’m worried about money

If you are worried about your finances, whether your student loan will come through in time, or unsure what grants you are eligible for, then have a look at the finance section of Newnham website. Cambridge University has means-tested grants that are available, for instance they will match any government grants that UK students receive, although Newnham also has many of its own funds.

Soon after arriving, you will be sent information about all the grants available, with up-to-date information of how to apply for them. If you have a finance question, or concern, that isn’t answered by the college or uni websites, then email our Admissions Co-ordinator, Felicity (admissions@newn.cam.ac.uk) or Sam Lucy, who is our Admissions and Finance Tutor – both are more than happy to help!

I have loads of questions! Who can I ask?

If you have lots of questions that we haven’t managed to answer here, then there are several people and places you can ask depending on the type of answer you want:

For a student perspective you can either email our JCR Access Officer (jcr.access@newn.cam.ac.uk), as her role is specifically to help you, or use Ask-A-Student, where you question will be answered by a current Cambridge student (it can be found down the side of the Cambridge Alternative Prospectus subject and college pages here – yes, we know the website is really old and ugly, but there will be a new one soon!).

For an official opinion or answer, email our Admissions Tutor, Felicity (admissions@newn.cam.ac.uk) – she is here to help you, so would rather you asked than did something wrong or endlessly worried about it!

There will also be an offerholders facebook page set up at some point, so you’ll also be able to ask question there too!