FAQ

Here are a few frequently asked questions, but if there's anything at all you're not sure about please do e-mail the hostels rep - I'm always happy to help!

Something has broken in my room.  How do I get it fixed?

If you have broken furniture, missing bedlinen, malfunctioning washing machine/dryer or have cleaning issues, email Caroline Adams at caroline.adams@pem.cam.ac.uk

If you have a maintenance problem (including nonfunctioning heating, blocked sinks/toilets, electrical appliances and lights not working), complete the maintenance request form online on RMS (select Problems..Report a Problem) or contact the Maintenance Department:. If it's a simple bulb blown, the porters can give you a new bulb. Back to the top

How does the ballot work?

After your first year, rooms are chosen based on a ballot system - names are randomly drawn out of a hat and you choose from the available rooms in the order drawn.  In Lent term of the first year, you can choose to form groups of up to four people who wish to ballot together.  This means that your names will be drawn together, but not that you have to live together (or, indeed, that you will necessarily be able to live together). The order of choosing rooms for the third year is the reverse of that for the second year, i.e. if you are at the bottom of the ballot when it is drawn in your first year, you will be at the top when you have to choose next year.  Third years on four year courses are inserted into the ballot between positions 30 and 99. The order of ballot is scholars (students who attained a first class mark in the previous year's examinations) first, followed by current second and third years, and finally freshers. The actual process of choosing a room is straightforward. The Hostels Rep organises weekly meetings at which the next 20 or so people on the ballot choose one of the remaining available rooms in ballot order. You will be contacted by the Hostels Rep about a week before the meeting informing you of the time and place. Back to the top

What is the scholars' ballot?

One of the rewards of getting a First at Pembroke (in addition to a cash bonus!) is that you get to choose a nicer room. The scholars’ ballot takes place in the summer after results are published, a number of rooms that had been previously reserved are released. These rooms are always in college, and are often sets, i.e. rooms that have both a study and a bedroom, and sometimes a kitchen. Students who get a First are invited to swap the room they had already chosen for one of these “scholars’ rooms”, in which case the room originally chosen becomes available to the waiting list (see below) or someone else on the scholars’ ballot Alternatively, they can choose to keep the room they have and defer their First to the following year. Any scholar who does not change their room in the summer will be placed at the top of the main ballot. Some rooms, however are reserved for the summer ballot (these rooms differ from year to year). The order of the scholars' ballot is determined by the original ballot. Current third years choose their scholars' rooms first, followed by current second years, in the reverse order to the original ballot list. Back to the top

What is the waiting list?

The waiting list is open from the start of the first year ballot, so anyone in first year will have the option of choosing a room, or going on the waiting list. Students on the waiting list choose their room during the summer vacation, after the July scholars' ballot. Rooms that the July scholars give up, and any remaining scholars’ rooms, can then be chosen by the waiting list in ballot order. The waiting-list is only open to students in the first year and the number of places is limited (approx. 25) As a result, those at the very bottom of the ballot have to choose the remaining rooms if the waiting list is already full. But, in compensation, these students are at the very top of the ballot come the second year! Back to the top

What if I'm on the waiting list, but I'm away during the action?

You can nominate someone else to choose your room for you, or send the hostels officer an email with your choices (for example, if you are tenth on the ballot, ten choices in order) Back to the top

If I choose a split set, do I decide who I share it with?

There are some split sets in college, in M and O staircases. Each set has a kitchen and two bedrooms, usually one of which (the A room) is larger than the other, and is shared by two students. The student who chooses the room takes the A room, and can choose anyone lower on the ballot to take the B room, thus pulling them up the ballot. When you choose a split set you MUST choose someone to go into the B room. If you then get a First and choose to upgrade your scholars' room, you must find someone to replace you (unless, of course, you both get Firsts and upgrade). Back to the top

What if I have a year abroad?

Students whose course includes a year abroad (e.g. MML, AMES or any course with a year at MIT) will choose accommodation for a fourth year at the same time as the rest of their year group. Only rooms that have not already been taken may be chosen. In other words, if someone higher in the ballot has already chosen a room for their third year, that room may not be chosen for the fourth year of an MML student. In this way their position on the ballot will not be affected. Students on a year abroad are allowed to re-enter the ballot along with other students entering a fourth year, but they must then relinquish the room they had previously chosen. Back to the top

What if I'm staying for a fourth year?

If you are registered on a four year course (Engineering, NatSci, CompSci & Maths), you stay in undergrad accommodation for your fourth year. College will contact you to ask if you intend to stay on. Third years staying for a fourth year may again form groups of up to 4 people, and are intercalated into the second year ballot between positions 30 and 99.

On the other hand, if you are on a three year course but then opt to stay another year for an MPhil, business and management course etc., you are counted as a grad and can choose to stay in graduate accommodation.. Back to the top

Do I still have to move all my stuff home every vacation after the first year?

Second years living in hostels outside college, and third years either in college or in hostels, can leave rooms as they are over the Christmas and Easter vacations. However, College do not take responsibility for any valuables left in the room, and it should be left sufficiently tidy for it to be cleaned and any maintenance work to be carried out. Second years living in college do still have to move their belongings out of the room every vacation, as College uses the rooms. Back to the top

When do I have to vacate my room, and when can I come back?

First and second years in college must vacate the room by 10am on the Saturday immediately after the end of Full Term (which is always a Friday). You can return on (or after) the Saturday preceding the beginning of Full Term (on a Tuesday). Second years out of college and third and fourth years can stay an extra week at the end of term, and may return a week early at the beginning. Back to the top

What if I need to stay here during the holidays?

Students with a valid reason are usually able to stay in college accommodation during the vacation. Toward the end of term you will be asked to complete an online form asking if you would like to stay on longer and/or return early. It is not a guarantee that you can stay and if you can stay you may not be able to stay in your current room. Students who wish to stay during the Long Vacation should see Caroline Adams as early as possible in Easter Term, as College does use the majority of its room for summer programs etc. Back to the top

My room is too cold. Where can I get an electric heater?

From maintenance in Q basement or the plodge. There is no charge. Back to the top

This Website is maintained by the Pembroke JPC IT Officer.

The initial design was built by Vikash Patel.

Cover Photo Credits: Alex Łyszkowski  

Special Thanks to Chris

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