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Top 6 Colleges at the University of Cambridge

One of the world’s oldest and most prominent institutions is The University of Cambridge.

It has produced some of the most influential minds in history, including Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. 

Students who attend the university are known as “Cambridge men” or “Cambridge women.”

You might think that a school with such a prestigious reputation would be challenging to get into, but that’s not the case.

Several colleges within the university are like mini-universities within a more prominent university. Each has its distinct traditions, culture, and set of rules for students who choose to live on campus.

If you’re interested in attending the University of Cambridge or just curious about what kind of place it is, here are six colleges that stand out among all the others.

You can also check out https://www.immerse.education/cambridge-summer-school/ for more information.

Gonville & Caius College

Gonville & Caius College, known as ‘Keys,’ is home to around 1,000 undergraduates, graduates, and academics. It is the fourth oldest college at the University of Cambridge. 

The college was founded as Gonville Hall by Edmund Gonville, Rector of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, in 1348. It was refounded in 1557 by John Caius, Master of the College and Doctor of Medicine. 

The most visible legacy of the college remains its three gates – “Humility,” “Virtue,” and “Honour.” 

It has produced fifteen Nobel Prize winners, more than any Oxbridge College bar Trinity, Cambridge. Notable current and old members include Harold Abrahams, the Olympic sprinter immortalized in the film Chariots of Fire. 

The college welcomed women into its Fellowship and student body for the first time in 1979.

It has since developed into a highly competitive institution that attracts some of the best students from all parts of the world and houses them in beautiful facilities.

They offer a sound academic challenge, a supportive tutorial and pastoral system, and excellent social, co-curricular, and sports facilities available to their students. As a result, their Fellows are the best academics in their fields.

Christ’s College

Christ’s has a diverse and all-inclusive academic community and has been at the cutting edge of education for more than 500 years.

It is unique among Cambridge Colleges because it is small to be friendly and personal and large to welcome staff and students from over sixty countries. As a result, everyone can find others with interests similar to theirs. 

It is located in the heart of Cambridge, giving College members easy access to the city’s cultural, historical, and intellectual heritage.

The college provides excellent tutorial assistance to its students as they pursue their academic goals. Of course, the scholarship is at the heart of everything they do, but all College members are encouraged to seek a wide range of other interests. 

Extracurricular activities thrive, and their close-knit alum network includes leaders and innovators in sports, science, music, drama, politics, business, and many other fields.

Christ’s is close to all of the town’s amenities and is very close to most university departments, including Medicine, Natural Science, Social Anthropology, Geography, and Engineering.

The Sidgwick site is where many of the Humanities departments are, and the new Science buildings at the West Cambridge site are only a short cycle away. 

Christ’s is central but quiet, making it ideal for students who want to work quietly but walk straight into Cambridge’s heart.

Magdalene College

The College of St Mary Magdalene is in the heart of Cambridge, next to the River Cam.

It was founded in 1428 by John de Villiers, a local landowner, who donated it to the Church on condition that they use it as a college.

This is why it’s also known as “the heart of the university ever since.” It’s also known as “The House of St. Mary Magdalene.”

It was initially named “The College of St. Mary Magdalene” because of its location right next to St. Mary’s Church, but in 1550, they changed the name to Magdalene College. 

The current name comes from John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible into English, and his association with the college Magdalene was his patron saint.

The college has an eclectic mix of buildings, and for nearly 600 years, there has been a continuous tradition of academic study on the site.

Every year, Magdalene admits approximately 100 undergraduate students for all courses offered by the University of Cambridge and about 80 postgraduate students.

Their small annual intake contributes to a family atmosphere and a tight-knit community.

Queens’ College

Queens College is one of the most popular colleges at the University of Cambridge. 

Founded in 1448 today, it has about 700 students enrolled. They named the college after its benefactor Queen Margaret of Anjou, who founded the college with her husband, King Henry VI.

The college is known for its beautiful architecture. It is one of the most beautiful colleges at the University of Cambridge. It also has some gorgeous gardens.

The Queens’ student body comprises undergraduates who study various subjects, including medicine, law, economics, and social sciences. 

Queens College offers excellent financial assistance to students who need it.

Queens College also has a strong reputation for offering quality education in medicine and law. They have produced more than 20 Nobel laureates over the years.

They have been ranked as one of the top 10 colleges at Cambridge for providing bursaries and scholarships to undergraduate students.

  1. Catharine’s College

This charming college is on a hill, with a garden in the middle. The buildings are all made of white limestone, making it look like they’re glowing in the sunlight. 

All the rooms have large windows and plenty of natural light, making them feel very welcoming and cosy. You can often see students lounging outside their rooms or studying in them.

St. Catharine’s is known for being very friendly to first-years, so if you’re nervous about starting university, don’t worry; you’ll fit right in here.

Robert Woodlark established St Catharine’s College in 1473. He had spent nearly two decades acquiring tenements in Queens’ Lane, as known today. He did this until he had a large enough site to accommodate the small hall he called ‘Saynt Kateryns Hall of Cambridge.’ 

Two years later, on 16 August 1475, King Edward IV’s charter incorporated the hall as a college for a Master and three or more Fellows: “a perpetual college… forever to remain.”

Undergraduates were not admitted to St Catharine’s until the 16th century, and it was still one of Cambridge’s smallest Colleges at the start of the 17th century. 

However, a succession of exceptional Masters and generous benefactors would change its fortunes.

Sidney Sussex College

Sidney Sussex College is one of the University of Cambridge’s constituent colleges. They founded it in 1596 under the will of Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex.

It is one of the smallest colleges at the University of Cambridge, with just over 350 undergraduates and around 100 graduates. However, its relatively small size means that students have plenty of opportunities to get involved in everything from sports to academic societies and activities.

Sidney Sussex College is also famous for its beautiful architecture. The main building is a hall from the 16th century, which they expanded over time into a complex including a library, dining room, standard room, chapel, and other areas.

The college’s alums include:

  • The second and last surviving signatory, John Hancock, of the American Declaration of Independence, who graduated in 1756
  • Four British Prime Ministers, including Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
  • Two Nobel Laureates: Sir William Ramsay (Chemistry) and Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (Physiology/Medicine)
  • One British monarch, King Edward VII

In 1596, Elizabeth I granted land for the new college to be used as a home for people who the university educated at either Oxford or Cambridge University.

Final Thoughts

The University of Cambridge is one of the most respected universities in the world. So with some of the best colleges and professors, it is not surprising that it is ranked #1 on this list. 

They are all excellent institutions that have a lot to offer any student.

So, if you’re considering attending one of these colleges, you’ll want to start thinking about what you’ll need for your application now. The sooner you start planning, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

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