Accommodation FAQs for Freshers

Q: I am filling in the accommodation application form, and I can’t decide which order to rank the price bands in. What are the rooms like in different price bands?

A: The price bands for our accommodation rely on a wide variety of factors. This includes bathroom and kitchen facilities, and will also be affected by the size and location of rooms, amongst other things. It is therefore difficult to say what any one room in each band will have in terms of facilities, and adjacent rooms in the same area may be in different price bands. We ask students to select price bands based purely on how much they are able or willing to pay for their accommodation, and they should not assume that, for instance, all rooms within the high room charge band will have an en suite.

You should simply tell us how much you would want to pay, and then give us any further information relevant to your application. If you wish to apply for an en suite room, or a room in a certain area, please tell us in the ‘any other information’ section of the form. (If your request stems from a medical need or religious observance, please do make this clear.) You can also give us the maximum figure (if you have one) that you would pay in order to get a certain type of room. Room allocations are made according to a random ballot order, so you should note that it may not be possible for all students to get everything they ask for. However, we take requests into account as far as is possible within the ballot system.

Q: When can I arrive in College?

A: Fresher arrivals day is the Saturday before the start of Full Term; this is the first day that the majority of students may come into residence. Members of the Admissions, Tutorial and Accommodation departments will be available to welcome you, as well as members of the Trinity College Student Union (TCSU) Committee. It is advised that you arrive on this day if possible.

If you are travelling from overseas and wish to arrange an earlier arrival date, you will need to contact the Accommodation Office about this once you have heard about your room allocation. Provided that at least one week’s notice is given, it may be possible to move into your room up to 3 days early.

Q: I am required to come early because of my course. Can I stay at Trinity?

A: Only if it is for an essential pre-sessional course. Most departments will not ask you to come earlier than the start of Full Term, so our normal fresher arrivals day is early enough for most new students. However, if you are required to complete a specific pre-sessional course (more common for postgraduates than undergraduates), you should contact the Accommodation Office as soon as possible. In some cases accommodation can be found for this, though you may not be able to move straight into the room you have been assigned for the year.

Q: I have been invited to Cambridge early for sports activities. Can Trinity College accommodate me for this?

A: No, unfortunately the College cannot provide early accommodation for sports training activities. If you have accepted an invitation to train with a Cambridge University sports team, it is advisable that you look into sourcing alternative accommodation for this as early as possible. In addition to hostels, hotels and B&Bs, you may like to consult for rooms in other Cambridge colleges which offer a bed and breakfast service.

Q: Can I choose my rooms while at Trinity?

A: As an undergraduate fresher, your room will be assigned before you arrive. You will receive an application form for the ballot, which asks you to rank your preferred room charge levels and give us any other information about your requirements/preferences. These are taken into account as far as is possible within the random ballot order for assigning rooms. If any of your requirements are due to a medical need, it is very important that you raise this at an early stage so that we can take them into account before the ballot.

In later years, you will be able to choose your room; again, a random ballot order is devised, but when it comes to your turn in the ballot, you may pick from the available rooms.

Q: Do I have to pay a deposit for my accommodation?

A: That depends on where you are. Rooms in College are charged termly for undergraduates, and quarterly for postgraduates. Details of the due date for payment will be included with your bill, and no money towards your room charge will be required before your arrival in College. However, our graduate hostel rooms (where the billing is externally managed by a letting agency) require a fixed security deposit which is payable with the first month’s rent. Normally, postgraduate students new to the College would not be accommodated in these hostels in their first year.

Q: Will I have to share a room?

A: No. All fresher rooms are individual bedrooms with space for working at a desk as well. There are no dormitories at Trinity College. In later years, it may be possible for you to apply for a double set with a friend (2 separate bedrooms with a shared living/working space). However, students will never be assigned a double set unless they have chosen to apply for one with a fellow student.

Q: Can I smoke in my room?

A: No; Trinity is a non-smoking College. Smoking in both student rooms and public spaces of the College (other than in designated outside smoking areas) is not permitted. You will find the designated areas in Section 7 of the Accommodation Handbook.

Q: Can I leave my things in my College room over the holidays?

A: Over the Christmas and Easter vacations, most undergraduates in College will be given the option to apply to ‘keep their room for storage’ – this means you can pay to leave belongings in your room, but you cannot stay there yourself. However, as undergraduate fresher rooms are required for activities over the Christmas holidays, students living in Angel Court or the Wolfson Building will not be able to leave belongings in their rooms during this vacation. Over the Long Vacation (in the summer), it is not possible for any students to keep a room for storage.

There are limited alternative options for storage if necessary; please see Section 3.11 of the Accommodation Handbook for more details.

Q: Can I send things to College before I arrive?

A: That depends on the type of mail. While you are resident here, your mail is delivered to the Porters’ Lodge and there is very limited space for storage. Therefore, if you wish to mail yourself packages, luggage etc, please arrange for these to arrive after you have got here so that you can collect them promptly. If you wish to redirect lighter mail such as letters to College, please contact the Porters’ Lodge to check whether they are able to receive and hold it for you before you arrive.

Q: Should I bring my own bedding/towels?

A: There is no need to bring your own bedding. The College supplies all necessary bedding in your assigned room, which is laundered by housekeeping staff. If you choose to bring your own bedding, you should note that you will be responsible for laundering it, and it must be removed during the holidays along with the rest of your belongings. It is probably easiest if you do not bring your own bedding into College.

Towels are not provided by the College, so you will need to bring your own.

Q: Should I bring kitchen equipment?

A: Not too much, as Trinity is a catered college and you are likely to be eating in hall most of the time. All College rooms will have access to a shared, basic kitchen space – at a minimum these contain a fridge, sink and kettle; most also have a combination microwave oven. Some areas of College have fuller kitchens with hobs and – in some cases – full ovens. You may therefore wish to bring a small amount of cutlery and crockery for the preparation of light snacks/meals and hot drinks. It is advised that you do not bring a large amount of cooking equipment (it will be possible to purchase cooking items in Cambridge once you have an idea of how much you will need).

Q: Can I bring my own cooking appliances?

A: No, students may not bring any electrical cooking appliances (for example sandwich toasters, rice cookers, slow cookers etc.) into College. Students with special dietary needs, who feel they will need to cater for themselves while at Trinity, should contact the Accommodation Office in advance of the room ballot with details of their requirements. If permission is given for the use of any personal equipment, this should be inspected by the Works Department before use.

You may bring your own kettle for your room, provided that it is kept on a tray. As part of the legal documentation which you sign at the beginning of each year, you must certify that any electrical equipment you have brought into College is correctly wired and safe to use.

Q: I’d like to bring my bike – what do I need to do about this?

A: Students may bring one bicycle into College which must be registered with the Accommodation Office at the start of each academic year. We will give you a sticker to display on the bike which shows that it belongs to a Trinity student, and it may then be parked in bike storage racks around the College (bicycles must not be kept inside College rooms). We have an arrangement with Cambridge Police so that if a stolen Trinity bike is recovered, the Police will contact us with the registration number.

There are no secure bicycle storage facilities in College but there are a limited number of spaces available in the underground bike storage areas for students which are assigned via a random ballot at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term. Students eligible to apply for a space will receive information about the application process before the start of the Michaelmas Term. Students are strongly encouraged not to bring valuable bikes into College. Anyone wishing to have an expensive specialist bicycle in College does so at their own risk. Trinity cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to bikes kept anywhere on College property, which includes the underground storage areas.

Q: Do I need insurance?

A: The College has a collective insurance policy for which all students pay a yearly charge. It is not possible to ‘opt out’ of this policy, full details of which are provided every academic year. If this policy does not provide sufficient cover for all your personal possessions, you can choose to ‘top up’ the cover with the insurer, or to arrange for additional cover privately.