Settling In

Whether you are a postgraduate student arriving in Cambridge for the first time, or an undergraduate who has met your offer – Newnham offers all the support you need to make sure you settle into university life as quickly as possible.

For 2020-21 entry, due to COVID-19, there will be a few changes but new students will be kept up to date with plans as they are made.

Undergraduate Students

Most new students arrive the previous weekend and at Newnham we ask science students to arrive on Saturday, and arts students on Sunday, simply so that we don’t have too many people trying to park and unload belongings at the same time. Some international students will arrive a few days earlier, for orientation sessions, and to give them a bit of extra time to acclimatise, open bank accounts etc

Newnham’s friendly Porters will give you your room key when you arrive and the JCR Freshers’ Committee will be around to help you find your room, as well as organising ‘getting to know you’ activities. Your Tutor will invite you to a welcome party on Sunday afternoon/evening – she is the person you can turn to for help with anything from personal and emotional problems to financial difficulties. You will also have a meeting early on in the week with your Director of Studies, to discuss your academic timetable and commitments.

Postgraduate Students

Many students arrive on (or shortly after) 26 September. Students being housed in college accommodation can move in from this date. Some international students will arrive a few days earlier, for orientation sessions, and to give them a bit of extra time to acclimatise, open bank accounts etc. We strongly advise students not to arrive earlier than 26 September unless instructed to do so by their Department. Students with college accommodation booked that arrive early must check with the Tutorial Office whether they can move in any earlier. Room keys, university cards and mail can be collected from the Porters Lodge who can also give you directions, show you where to unload your belongings and where to grab something to eat!

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students

Other highlights during your first week (apart from lots of parties, College and university tours, and maybe even night punting!) will be:

  • Matriculation: when you sign your name in the College Roll (a book which contains the names of all Newnham students, dating from the time when women were not allowed to be on the official University records).
  • The College Feast: your first Formal Hall, in Newnham’s beautiful dining hall. Everybody wears their gown and you will sit with others in your subject, including some current students and your Director of Studies/College Mentor.
  • The University Freshers’ Fair, where you can sign up for various clubs and societies from spaceflight to tiddlywinks. Joining societies is a good way to get involved and make new friends. Newnham will also host its own Freshers’ Fair in College.
  • For undergraduate students; a “family” lunch or dinner with your College mums, together with College sisters, and maybe aunties and grandmas too …
  • You need to register yourself in order to be able to vote. Please visit

Before you know it, term will be under way.

If you would like to find out what university life has been like for some of our students, read their stories here.