Formal Hall

As a Cambridge student you must wear your gown to hall. Underneath the gown, lots of people like (and tend) to dress up, especially if it’s a special occasion, but you don’t have to.

Guests from other colleges are also expected to wear their respective gown. The dress code for non-university guests is formal attire. Other college halls may have different dress codes,

At John’s just turn up looking reasonable and you’ll be fine.  Flip-flops, shorts and sportswear aren’t considered appropriate. Other than that as long as you’re rocking your gown, you’ll be fine.

Black Tie

This is the most formal dress code you are likely to encounter in Cambridge. Gents wear a dinner jacket with trousers, white shirt and a bow tie (aka a tuxedo). Ladies wear evening dresses. These may be specified long depending on the strictness of the event. This is the usual dress code for a May Ball.

Expect to see lots of black tie pictures around May Week.

White Tie

The absolute pinnacle of fanciness. Only Magdalene and Peterhouse May Balls require this dress code. For chaps this is a black tail coat, trousers, white shirt, white waistcoat and white bow-tie. Ladies wear full-length dresses and elbow-length gloves.

You really won’t come across this unless you do venture to the Peterhouse or Magdalene May. A word of warning though, it is rather expensive to rent a full white tie and they do go quite quick so make sure you get in early.

College Bars

College bars are great, 'nuff said. Each college has their own and you simply must visit as many as you can.

John's bar has a lovely pub vibe and is great fun all day long. It also offers a range of snacks and food so you can get a light dinner if you miss the Buttery.

College bars aren’t alco-centric, either. You can quite happily go to the bar every evening without boozing – many people discover a love of borrowing the bar’s Scrabble or Monopoly games!


As with theatre, Cambridge is rich in cinema. The Vue at the Grafton Centre provides all the usual popcorn-munching blockbuster fare for those who like their cinema mainstream. As does the multiplex next to
the Junction on Hills Road.

The Arts Picturehouse (above the Wetherspoon’s) shows new world and independent cinema as well as classics from the archives. They have various film festivals which tour there as well. Check out their website for details of what’s on at the moment.

What’s more, College film societies provide massive variety. The St John's Picturehouse is the most popular (of course!), showing films on Thursdays and Sundays in the Fisher Building.


From serious drama to improvised comedy, new writing to Shakespeare, there’s a huge variety of things to see.

The ADC Theatre on Park Street is the students’ own theatre.  The standard of the theatre is really high, and there are shows on every night, with both a main show and late show each week as well as one-night shows. Going to see one of your friends if they get into a show is always good fun.


Cambridge is justifiably famous for classical music of every kind. You can go and hear world-famous choirs at Evensong, join or watch one of the many student orchestras, go to lunchtime recitals and hear chamber groups play at many Colleges. Varsity and The Cambridge Student carry listings of these events.

For those who prefer their music to have more bass, the Junction and the Corn Exchange host the UK’s biggest acts (Bloc Party, Dizzee Rascal, Pigeon Detectives and Kate Nash have played here recently), while the Graduate pub is Cambridge’s Barfly, where you can check out the best up-and-coming talent (Robots in Disguise, Lightspeed Champion and Yo Yo Yo Litvenenko have been to Cambridge recently). Cambridge Indie Soc is worth joining for all the latest gig details and discounted entry.


Whether you prefer cheesey song/snog fests or edgy indie nights, it’s nice to get out of College sometimes! Here’s the JCR’s low-down on the clubs that Cambridge has to offer:

Fez - Best night: Saturdays I'm in Love
One of the smaller clubs but incredible indie rock tunes. You always have a great time at Fez (provided you can bear the heat).

Cindies - Best night: Wednesday Rumboogie
The staple of Cambridge nightlife. Always full of cheesy tunes and familiar faces. An absolute must.

Vinyl - Best night: Sunday Life
The kuda is dead. Long live the kuda. Vinyl is the a revamp of the kuda of old. Sadly, they seem to have removed much of the kuda magic of old. Nevertheless, if a light-up dancefloor and the wheel of fortune are for you, go ahead.

LolaLo's - Best night: Thursday Lolas
In a word: vertical. Lolas has three floors, two for dance and one absolutely gorgeous rooftop terrace. With terrific deals on Jager-Bombs, Lolas is a reliable friend indeed.

The Regal - Best night: DangerSpoons
The magnificent Regal Wetherspoon's turns into a completely different place on Fridays and Saturdays. A word of warning though: it's called DangerSpoons for a reason.

Revolution - Best night: special event
Revs has perhaps the best venue in central Cambridge. Nevertheless, its student events are few and far between. Keep your eyes out for the odd Grandma Groove at Revs, they are always terrific.

Junction - Best night: Special event
As far as the venue is concerned, Junction is the undisputed king of Cambridge. The only issue is that it is quite far out (you'll need an Uber or a suitable beer jacket). We definitely recommend braving the bass at least once in your time here.

Tuition Fees

Like all other universities in England, Cambridge tuition fees for “home” students are £9,250 per year for all undergraduate courses.

BUT (and it's a big but) you don’t have to pay these whilst you are a student. You can take out a loan which is
repaid in small instalments once you are earning over £21,000. Who doesn't like "free" money? For more info see: Student Loans Company (SLC) .

If you are from outside the UK and don't have settled or pre-settled status you will be classified as an overseas student. Fees for overseas students are somewhat higher :( For more info see Overseas Tuition Fees .

Cambridge Bursary

The Cambridge Bursary (or Newton Trust Bursary) is a means-tested grant of up to £3,500 (as of 2016) for each year of your degree if your household income falls bellow £42,600. Unlike a loan, you will not have to pay this back. You will receive information about  the bursary in your first couple of weeks.

For more info see: Undergraduate Financial Support

College Bills

College bills are payed termly. You can do this by cash, debit card, cheque or direct transfer. If you need to wait for your maintenance loan to come through before paying the bill, you will just need to show your student finance paperwork and fill out a late payment form.

If you envisage any other difficulties in paying your bill, get advice from the Accounts Office ASAP (+44 (0) 1223339357 / 

For a glossary of items that college bills typically contain, including accommodation costs, click here.

Financial Aid

There are various sources of financial aid available to students of St John's, a list of which is available here.

Sports funds

St John’s College also offers a Beard and University Blues Fund, which is designed to support students with the additional costs of competing in sport at a university level. This will help fund subscription fees of all University Sports Clubs (up to a maximum of £50 per person per academic year) from the Paul Beard Fund).

Please follow this link. for the application form and more details.

For a list of useful contacts please refer to the Freshers section Useful Contacts