Prospective Students


If you’re on this page, the chances are you’re interested in applying to Cambridge and are looking at the different colleges. We’ve put together an alternative prospectus to show you what we think makes Pembroke special, which you can view online here. It’s been written by current students, so should give you as good a feel for the place as you can get without coming to look around yourself.

You can also find out more about Pembroke and applying to Cambridge on the following websites: – Pembroke College’s official website. Here you’ll find college specific information, including comprehensive information on everything from accommodation and living costs to application statistics. – A fantastic, student-orientated website run by the Cambridge Admissions Office, full of blogs and videos from current students. It’s got lots of helpful advice on going through the admissions procedure. - Cambridge’s alternative prospectus. This gives a brief outline to all the colleges and courses, written entirely by students. - The potential applicant’s section of the official Cambridge website. Here you’ll find links to information on all the courses offered (don’t forget, Pembroke doesn’t take applicants for Geography or Education).

We’ve put together a quick list of the questions we get asked the most below, but if you have any other questions or would like to clarify anything, please just drop us an email to

We hope to see you at an open day some day soon!

JPC Access Officers




(Pembroke sounds great, but) how do you pick a college?

The entire academic side of life here is sorted out by the department, so whichever college you choose you’ll have the same world class standard of teaching. 

I’d recommend thinking of picking a college as picking a home – you want to choose somewhere you’d be happy living in for the next three or so years. Colleges really do have an ‘atmosphere,’ so coming and having a look around is the best advice I can give, but if it’s not possible or you don’t have time, have a think about the sort of things you’d like (size, location, building style, facilities, accommodation), come up with a shortlist then have a look at college webpages and the entries in the alternative prospectus (

One thing worth mentioning is that there’s absolutely no point trying to play a numbers game and applying to a college you think will have fewer applicants for your subject. The university has a very active ‘pooling’ system in place, which means that your chances of getting an offer to study at Cambridge are the same, regardless of which college you apply to.

Will I be the only student from a state school/ethnic minority/LGBT+/working-class/international/‘normal’ background?

NO! Cambridge is home to bright and dedicated students from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe and Pembroke is no exception. Students are admitted based purely on their academic ability, passion for their subject and potential. Everybody is assessed on their own individual achievements and there is no bias in the admissions process either towards or against applicants of any background. Pembroke simply wants to encourage the best possible students to apply and once you’re here, nobody takes any notice of your background.

Everyone keeps on about Pembroke’s food, is it really that good?

In a word: yes – be prepared for people from other colleges to hint for invites back to Pembroke for brunch, trough (our – purely affectionate – nickname for the canteen) and formal hall. The specifics are explained thoroughly in the alternative prospectus (see the link above), but if you’d like a sample of the food on offer, the catering staff run a blog, which you can find here (

Is it true Pembroke doesn’t offer en suite accommodation?

Yes. Virtually every room has its own sink, but no first year rooms have a shower or toilet attached; you’ll have one next door which you’ll share with a couple of neighbours. This can initially put some people off, but all ‘public areas’ (showers, loos, kitchens etc) are cleaned regularly, so you don’t have to worry about hygiene! Sharing also keeps costs down and I don’t know of it ever having been a problem. Your neighbours will all be studying different subjects so getting up at different times etc; in the whole of last year I had to wait for a toilet maybe twice, and have never queued for a shower!


Should I apply?


I hate to admit it, but I was embarrassed to tell people I was applying for Cambridge. I was worried they would think I thought I was better than I was, or that I would somehow end up embarrassing myself. Looking back I’m so glad I still made the decision to apply. It’s only one of your five UCAS choices, so unless you have five other universities you desperately want to apply to (you can only apply for 4 professional vet/medic courses and you can’t apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in one year unless you are looking for an organ scholarship) and you’re on track to get grades in the range of what they’d be asking for (unless you have ‘extenuating circumstances,’ in which case it’d be worth checking out why not? It might just be the best decision you ever make; it was for me (such a cliché, sorry). Seriously though, what’s the worst that can happen?
The bottom line is: they can’t give you an offer if you don’t apply.

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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