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The Ballot

Pembroke is able to offer all undergraduates accommodation for the duration of their course.  Rooms are located either in the College itself or in nearby hostels.  Rooms are chosen according to a ballot order determined in the course of a students’ first year; this order is reversed the following year.  Students who will be entering their third or fourth year of study choose their rooms first.

Ballot meetings (when rooms are chosen) are organised by the JP Hostels Rep. Anyone not attending nor making provision for their absence (e.g. appointing a proxy) will forfeit their place in the ballot. The ballot meetings are overseen by the College Registrar.

Students continuing to a fourth year of their course are inserted into the main ballot, in groups of up to four, below no. 30 of the main ballot.  Please note the College is not able to guarantee accommodation to students undertaking the Management Studies Tripos in the fourth year.

Students who will be on their Year Abroad in their third year choose a room along with their peers; this room is then allocated to them for their fourth year.  Students in this situation do have the option of re-entering the ballot and will be treated as other fourth years outlined above.  Anyone choosing this option must surrender the room they had previously chosen.

The list of rooms available for coming year, with their current rents (rents will increase each year), is available here. Any rooms marked with an asterisk are currently not in the ballot.

Information about the July Scholars ballot can be found here.

Information about the waiting list can be found here.

Student reviews of rooms can be found here

It is important that any student intending to find their own accommodation should inform the College Registrar as soon as possible.  Any undergraduate who chooses a room in the ballot and subsequently decides not to live in College owned accommodation, must notify the College Registrar, in writing, by end of the first week of July. Failure to do so will make you liable to a term’s rent being charged.

Room swaps

Occasionally following the ballot students decide they would like to:

  • swap rooms with someone – this is possible but both interested parties need to inform the Rooms Tutor in writing that they agree to the swap.
  • alter their choice and take another available room – in this case they need to contact the College Registrar and the JP hostel rep and no later than 48 Hours before the next ballot is due to take place.

Please note no room swaps will be allowed after 1 June.

A rough timetable of the allocation of rooms is:

October: Current third year students are contacted to determine whether they will be staying for a fourth year and therefore need to be included in the forth coming ballot (failure to reply to this request will result in the College not being able to guarantee a room for the fourth year).

Students remaining for a fourth year are inserted into the third year ballot.

End of October/Early November: Ballot order is announced;

Early-November to end of Michaelmas term: JP hostels rep organises weekly ballot meetings where rooms are chosen.

Lent term: The JP hostels rep holds the final few ballot meetings for the third and fourth years.

Towards the end of January the first years are contacted by the College Registrar about the procedure for the first year ballot.

Mid-February – the draw takes place for the first year ballot

Mid-February – end of Lent term: JP hostels rep organises weekly ballot meetings of the first years where rooms are chosen (waiting list is ‘opened’)

Easter term: The JP hostels rep holds the final few ballot meetings for first years

Mid-July Foundation scholars are contacted about possibility of choosing a set in College

End of July/ Early August Waiting-list are contacted

Mid-August licence agreements are sent out (Student will be deemed to have entered into the agreement when they take possession of the keys to the room listed on the Licence agreement and agree to the Undergraduate Terms and Conditions for Occupation of Accommodation)

End of August Freshers rooms are allocated (new undergraduates have accommodation allocated directly by the College Registrar once their place has been confirmed.  All new students to the College will be sent a form, prior to their arrival, asking them for further information such as their preferred rent and location.)


Living out of College owned Accommodation

Students who prefer to find their own accommodation might find the following websites helpful:

  1. The University Accommodation Service
  2. The Cambridge Accommodation Notice Board

Tutors can also give advice and should always be consulted over contracts and any difficulties over relations with landlords.


Pembroke College is a member of the Accreditation Network UK (ANUK)