Girton College

| University of Cambridge

Girton College, Cambridge

Girton College, Cambridge was founded in 1869. It teaches in the region of 531 undergraduate students and 146 graduates. The college is ranked in position 23 of 29 in the Tompkins Table of academic results for the year 2014 (where 1 is the top possible score). It is located around 3.44 km from the centre of town.

Courses offered [ + ] Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic | Archaeology & Anthropology | Architecture | Asian and Middle Eastern Studies | Chemical Engineering | Classics | Computer Science | Economics | Engineering | English | Geography | History | Human, Social and Political Sciences | Land Economy | Law | Linguistics | Management Studies | Manufacturing Engineering | Mathematics | Medicine | Medicine Graduate Course | Modern & Medieval Languages | Music | Natural Sciences | Philosophy | Psychological and Behavioural Sciences | Theology & Religious Studies | Veterinary Medicine | (additional courses are often available to post-graduate students and many colleges offer complex arrangements of modern languages - please see our courses page for details )

College Scorecard (averages out of five calculated from 25 impressions)
Study (3), Music (3), Sport (3), Smugness (3), Artiness (3) Facilities (3), Accommodation (3)

http://www.girton.cam.ac.uk/ | locate on map

OK so it's a darn long way out of cambridge (be under no illusions) - but once you accept that it's jolly nice. Buildings are fantastic, and it has a swimming pool! People also pleasant and not stuck up.. (Probably the effect of the fresh air or something)

Study (3), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (3), Facilities (3), Accommodation (3), Smugness (2)

Review by Richard - Student - add your impression

Not for those who don't appreciate cycling

Study (3), Artiness (2), Sport (3), Music (3), Facilities (3), Accommodation (3), Smugness (4)

Review by Sophia Denaya - former student - add your impression

Firstly, you do need a bike. It's not as far as everybody thinks, and with cycle lanes all the way into town, it's no trouble to travel. Whilst you do need to get up twenty minutes earlier than the rest of the university, the ride does tend to mean i'm actually awake for lectures. Moreover, i get more exercise than half of Cambridge before i even start the day.

However it's once you get here that one realises why you bothered with the bike ride. It's got massive grounds full of glades and wild rabbits which are a joy in summer time, and the buildings look amazing: Harry Potter eat your heart out! The staff are very friendly, and everybody knows, or at least smiles at everybody.

However the relative isolation of the place menas that things can get very bitchy. Rumours spread like wildfire and there's a lot of inter-Girtonian intercourse. Similarly, you have no chance of getting boys/girls to come back with you after a night out! Cliques form very easily out here and it's very easy if you're not in a clique to feel rather left out. However happily there are always plenty of people in the same boat, and finding company if you look for it is not a problem.

Accomodation for first years is a mixture- rooms range from postage stamp sized to big, and the room distribution system effectively evens things out later on, when in third year the suites of rooms come up for grabs.
Second years can move MUCH closer to town which is great, and the whole problem of cycling goes. Rooms at this annex (Wolfson Court) are comfy with sinks in all rooms, nice kitchens and good bathrooms.
Whilst first year bathrooms are shared and at times horrendous, they're well worth enduring for the benefits of 2nd and 3rd year, and compared to some colleges (eg. Corpus Christi) they're positively 5 star!

The college is pretty good at sport, with active rugby, football, hockey and rowing especially.

Academically, the college seems pretty laid back. It's middle of the table, so neither bad nor good. They don't have many famous alumni and pretty much their only claim to fame is being the sister college of Somerville Oxford where Thatcher studied! As the college is so far out, it does to some extent fit the bill as a 'pool' college. There are seemingly more pooled candidates here than the posher central colleges, however this by no means makes it easier to get in.

Wherever you apply, if you're good enough for Cambridge, you'll probably get in. If you apply somewhere super-posh in the centre, and you don't make it but should be in the uni, they'll pool you and you've got a good chance of somewhere else taking you up.

Whilst Girton is a pretty good place, there's always a bit of jealousy, direct entrant or not, for the city colleges that are near everything, stinking rich and brilliantly connected. So apply to one of those, but be happy wherever you end up. All the colleges are good, and there's a hell of a lot more to Cambridge life than just a college.

I'v probably made Girton sound awful, if so this is totally unintentional- it's a lovely place and i've made some great friends. Every rose has its thorn, just like every college. Girton's are just a little better elucidated here than perhaps others!

Thank you for reading this far, and I wish you the very best of luck (not that there's much involved) come November and interviewing season.

Study (3), Artiness (1), Sport (4), Music (4), Facilities (4), Accommodation (2), Smugness (2)

Review by cato - current history student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Definitely an enjoyable college to live in. Easy to live a healthy life with all the sport facilities and cycling involved. [If you want to study maths, the Wolfson court building is very handy!]

Because students who leave open applications are often international, and because Girton receives a large fraction of the open applicants, expect to be able to meet people from many different backgrounds! [Not just middle class British.]

I generally regard Girton as not once of the most wealthy colleges, so expect accommodation and formal to have a greater price per quality ratio. Last but not least, a great college library.

Study (3), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (4), Accommodation (3), Smugness (3)

Review by Justin - Student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

I had quite a few friends at Girton during my time at Cambridge, and I found that there was a real community feeling at the college. Maybe because they are a bit further away from the centre students there feel that Girton is a real home to them. I also went to the Girton spring ball last year (2008) and it was the best ball I've been to at Cambridge, including May week balls.

Study (3), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (3), Facilities (3), Accommodation (3), Smugness (3)

Review by Gemma - Student - add your impression

Amazing dramatics society; sporting facilities are awesome (think tennis courts, squash courts, swimming pool, rugby and football fields, practise pitches, table tennis, volleyball...... seriously, we're well equipped); and the buildings are just stunning. Also, a very active choir with tours in nice, sunny places.

A lot of people comment on the distance... but if you were to go to another uni, likelihood is that you'd be living off campus after 1st year, and cycling/bus-ing/walking in to uni every day anyway, so this really shouldn't bother you. Plus, being out of town means you get the countryside, with rabbits, squirrels (even some of the rare Black variety), birds, etc. which is extremely relaxing after a stressful day. It's pretty idyllic really. Also, being Girtonian gives you a realistic concept of distance. For example, we know about the Cineworld cinema which is about 5 miles from Girton on the other side of town but can be uber cheap if you go on tuesdays with BOGOF (about £2 a ticket). Ask students from most other colleges and they have no idea what the world is like outside their 1-mile radius "bubble". And really, 2 miles isn't exactly far. It takes 15 minutes to cycle. Or there's a regular bus service. And your bike won't get stolen while you're sleeping, cos no-one bothers to come out to Girton to nick them!

People at Girton are a good mix - very few people are of the traditional "Eton" character, but are more balanced instead, with lots of different backgrounds, and we form a brilliant community.

In terms of study, we are lower on the Tompkins table because we are encouraged to lead to balanced life, i.e. we are told to have fun and not worry so much about work. But if you are desperate to spend your life with your nose in a book, the library is good. It doesn't stay open all night, and closes at 6pm on saturdays (annoying for natscis/mathmos) but you can still work in your room. Easypeasy.

Go on, apply here, then you'll be in the 50% that end up here without being "pooled", which is quite frankly a stressful experience.

Study (3), Artiness (5), Sport (4), Music (3), Facilities (5), Accommodation (4), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Current NatSci (March 26, 2010) - add your impression

Yeah so it sounds like a massive hassle being so far from town, but it's an amazing way to keep in shape and the cycle becomes something of an escape and is a great time to just clear your head and have some thinking time.

The college itself is great- amazing facilities and the atmosphere is only enhanced by being so far from other colleges. It means we really have our own little community and there's pretty much always something going on.

Also, our paninis are amazing.

Study (2), Artiness (4), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (3), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Undergrad at Girton (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Friendly, down-to-earth people (many pooled so not total geeks, mostly real people), funky bar, frisbee in summer. Nice to get out of cambridge and have a compulsory cycle so you definitely fit exercise in although don't go here if you don't cycle. Girton village has an adventure playground and an assault course.

Study (3), Artiness (4), Sport (3), Music (5), Facilities (4), Accommodation (3), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - current student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

I think it has been established by all the other posts that yes, girton is 2 1/2 miles out of town, but this is only as much of a barrier as you make it - cycling is easy exercise & far more convenient for getting around the centre of town, but the buses are pretty regular, and taxis for nights out are not expensive if there are enough of you...
I didn't apply to Girton, but got pooled here - but I haven't looked back, and have absolutely no regrets! the sense of community is fantastic, the grounds are beautiful, the standard of teaching that I have received within college has been second to none, and everyone seems to have a really healthy attitude when it comes to work/life balance. Being out of the town means peace and quiet in the summer when the rest of town is inundated with tourists - this place is an oasis, and you often see students revising on the lawns in the sunshine. I love this place!

Study (3), Artiness (4), Sport (4), Music (3), Facilities (4), Accommodation (4), Smugness (2)

Review by Undisclosed - Girton student (April 12, 2010) - add your impression

We look after each other! Because we are so far from town people look out for you, and you will always recognise a Girton face. In the central colleges people get a lot more mixed between places in terms of college identity.

Study (4), Artiness (5), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (2), Accommodation (4), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Sciences student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

I'm speaking as a grad student and I would advise people not to select this college. If you're put into Girton, you'll be fine, but I wouldn't make it a first or second choice. The college is just way too far away from town to be of use to you, including library, pool, hym tutors, dining, etc. Effectively, I had little affiliation or contact with your college, which is fine, you'll survive, but it's nice to be in a college in town so you can run to the gym, or buttery, or talk to the accommodation officer, or pick up your mail.

Furthermore, what is little known about the accomodation system is that EVERYONE pays the same amount (I'm at 500/m, it's probably more for those starting now) which is much much much more than every other college (most other colleges are around 300-350/m) and rooms are not of good quality - not a single room has an ensuite for example.

I really don't have a problem with Girton itself, everyone is very nice and the college is really pretty, it's just that unless you're really proactive and want to bike 20mins you will effectively be college-less in Cambridge. And college life is one of the huge perks of life at Cambridge.

Study (1), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (3), Facilities (1), Accommodation (1), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Student (PhD) (July 25, 2011) - add your impression

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (5), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Current Girton student (April 24, 2010) - add your impression

Also a good college for those who hate cycling as its much easier to have a car at Girton than at any other college!
Everyone's really friendly and it's not just upper class conservative snobs (there are in fact very few of them).
Less emphasis on working really hard and more on going out and having fun.
Sports and music facilities are brilliant and our college grounds are amazing.
We have an indoor swimming pool!
Lunch at Girton is pretty good with the salad and panini bar.
Fair rooming system not based on academic grades or how much money you can pay.
Especially if you're an arts student, the distance from town really doesn't matter that much!

Study (3), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (4), Facilities (4), Accommodation (4), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (5), Facilities (5), Accommodation (4), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Student (June 8, 2011) - add your impression

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Alum (August 3, 2011) - add your impression

Great college, nice facilities, particularly main college. Has a pool. Girton College proper is exceptionally large, lots of weddings there, very beautiful!

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (3)

Review by Undisclosed - Current student (July 28, 2011) - add your impression

Yes, the cycle is horrible and long when it's cold/the morning - but completely worth it when its to and from such a beautiful place. With only a little bit of bias I can say it's the prettiest college, with one of the best atmospheres - a great tight-knit community, and great not-too-stuck-up people. It's not as academically pressured as other colleges, which can be seen as either good or bad, and town is miles away - but it's a wonderful college to experience Cambridge from.

Study (3), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (4), Facilities (4), Accommodation (5), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Current English Student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Study (3), Artiness (4), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (4), Smugness (2)

Review by Undisclosed - Student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Too far out for me - only come here if you like cycling. Not the real 'Cambridge' experience. Good for those who want to go to another university with the hard work of Cambridge

Study (3), Artiness (1), Sport (5), Music (2), Facilities (1), Accommodation (1), Smugness (4)

Review by A - Student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (2)

Review by Undisclosed - Post-Graduate Student (October 28, 2009) - add your impression

All sports facilities on site, one of the least pretentious colleges, amazing sense of community, real support from Tutorial staff when needed, very good touring choir, the list goes on...

Only negative (if any): doesn't have the reputation of King's/Trinity, etc.

Study (4), Artiness (4), Sport (3), Music (5), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Although I was a student at another college some of my best friends were at Girton so I spent as much time there as at my own college. At first the cycle ride is a bit off-putting, especially once you have adjusted to how small Cambridge is. However, it really isn't very far when you put it in perspective and remember how far you were probably travelling to places before you got to Girton. It's only about a fifteen/twenty minute cycle from town if you are an average to slow cyclists, most people I knew at girton could do it in about ten-fifteen minutes when they were late for lectures. There are regular buses from Girton to the city center also and it is possible to get bus passes to save a bit on the fare and it only used to be a couple of pounds each to get a taxi when there were a six or so of you.

Because of its relative distance from town Girton has the space to have a lot of facilities on site, they have sports fields, squash courts and an indoor swimming pool ( the only college with one as far as I know). They also have very large pretty grounds (including some slightly wooded bits and a large pond with ducks) which are nice to walk around or sit out in to get a break from work (especially during exam term). In addition there is some good wildlife to see there, hundreds of rabbits in the spring and black squirrels.

I found Girton a very social college, although people tended to be reluctant to make the journey out there, and Girtonites also tended to do things at Girton rather than come into town to go to bars etc. I found that they were a lot more social within college than people at my own college (although it may just have been the case that I knew the more social people as a result of them being more social) with people often congregating in someone's room most evenings. The bar is also nice and not usually too empty or busy. It has a nice atmosphere, being underground and has a pool table and jukebox and drinks are average price.

The canteen serves generally nice food and has good portion sizes although tends to be slightly pricier than some other colleges - especially if you are a guest. I found that most people tended to eat in the canteen especially at dinner time and weekends and this was quite a nice chance to get to see people. However, adequate kitchens were also provided, with all the necessary equipment to cook regularly, although they tended to be on the smallish size given the number of people they were shared between and storage space (fridges and cupboards) was quite limited.

Formals tend to be a little expensive (among the most expensive college for this) and reasonably infrequent. However the food was quite nice and it was worth going once or twice but overall I found this aspect a little disappointing.

The size of rooms varied quite a bit from basic, reasonably small rooms to 'sets' (consisting of a bed room and additional sitting room). Rooms are allocated according to a reasonably complicated system based on how many points you have (determined by the quality of room you have previously occupied - meaning you can either have average rooms right through or smallish rooms the first couple of years and then a good one in the last year) rather than being determined by academic achievement. In addition the rent is the same for all rooms.

In the second year most students do not live on site, there are a few houses (owned by college) up near college where students can live and there is also an accomodation block closer to town, next to the maths department. This is also useful for getting lunches for maths students in the third year who have their lectures in the maths department. Girton offers accomodation for three years for undergrads, but those who have a fourth year are not guaranteed accomodation and most live out (I think this is pretty standard for most colleges).

In general I found Girton a very pretty, social college and once I got used to the slightly longer commute (which is good for you anyway) I think I prefered to my own college and although I didn't dislike my own college, in many ways I wish I had been at Girton.

Study (2), Artiness (4), Sport (3), Music (3), Facilities (3), Accommodation (3), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Previous student at another college (August 20, 2011) - add your impression

Girton has some negative points. It's miles out. Now cycling 2-3 miles is easy. It's darn hard when you have that wind blowing in the opposite directions. You'd think that the wind will help you on the way back. Wrong - somehow it always manages to go against you. Some people try to convince themselves that the cycling is good because you actually do some sport even before other people have gotten up. Well not quite true. Cycling usually takes you 1 hour (because of the wind) so imagine doing 1 hour of your favourite sport after lectures. You'd be able to do that if you weren't at Girton. Also grocery stores are in town as well. Food in Girton is terrible. I don't know other colleges but the main site has poor cooking. Rooms - not good, not bad. Some are quite dark so if you want a bright room you're out of luck. The only good points of Girton that I can think of is that all rooms are the same price (if this can actually be a good point). I've also heard that our college has much less burglaries than the ones in town ( I haven't heard of any burglaries in town at all but that's what Girton's porters claim).

Oh another bad point for girls - there was a flasher around the college year. I don't think they've got him yet or maybe they did. Who knows. His brother may continue the legacy.

Study (1), Artiness (3), Sport (1), Music (2), Facilities (1), Accommodation (1), Smugness (3)

Review by Undisclosed - student (March 22, 2010) - add your impression

Study (2), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (3), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Undergrad at Girton (October 28, 2011) - add your impression

I cannot tell a lie: if you like women with curves then Girton cycling thighs are the stuff of legends.

In response to the poster who claims it takes an hour to cycle out to Girton, you are either really unfit or an elephant in stilletto heels, as I could walk between the market place in town and Girton in slightly under an hour. As a slowish cyclist with heavy books, it never took me more than twenty minutes one way, even in the highest of high winds.

The college is a beautiful building, the corridor set up is more sociable than a staircase in other colleges and the rooms are good. It is true that some first year rooms are grotty, but the rooms are 'graded' so that if you have a lower grade room in the first year, you come out top of the ballot in later years for a nicer one. This means as a first year you are unlikely to get a really horrid room because the second years will have snaffled them to manipulate the ballot for final year.

The food is good, and the kitchen system is simple so you don't have to decide which meal you will eat where in advance. If you aren't a great cook, most of the second year accomodation is only across the orchard so walking back into college for dinner is a good option, and one that I used a lot.

It is true that Girton students can exist in a self-imposed isolation, but if you want to make lots of friends in your department and have an active social life in town, then you can - being at Girton won't stop you. The distance isn't a problem for going to the pub, but as a large college set in big grounds, many students just don't bother going into town. Why picnic on Jesus Green with the tourists when you can sit by the pond out at Girton without them?




Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (4), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (1)

Review by Undisclosed - Grad (December 15, 2012) - add your impression