King's houses all its undergraduates for the full three or four years of their course. A lot of undergraduate rooms are on the main college site. The rest are in 'hostels' (blocks of student rooms), which are a few minutes' walk from the College.
The undergraduate rooms cover a wide range in terms of size, shape, age, and rent. All have a bed, a desk, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe, bookshelves and a reading lamp. They usually also have an easy chair and a coffee table. Many rooms have the cosiness and interesting shapes and features associated with old buildings. Rooms might look a little spartan when empty, but are comfortable and welcoming once a student’s own things are set out.
Some of our rooms are very old, with the full complement of all the features you would expect: mullioned windows, beautiful views, uneven floor, interesting architectural features, and quite often several flights of stairs to the nearest loo and bathroom! Most have their own washbasin, and some of these are 'sets', that is, two rooms, one a bedroom, the other a sitting-room or study. Our older buildings include Bodley's Court and Spalding Hostel.
On the other hand, some rooms are very modern – such as those in New Garden Hostel, built in 2001. Most of the more recently built rooms have their own bathroom or shower room. All rooms have toilet and bathroom facilities in fairly close proximity as well as some shared kitchens.
Most buildings have either shared kitchens or 'gyp rooms' (rooms where snacks can be prepared). Kitchens are fairly simple, but have fridges and microwaves (some have cookers and ovens, but this depends on an ongoing fire safety review). In general, the hostels off the main College site have larger cooking spaces with full cookers, whereas rooms on the main site only have gyp rooms without cookers. In addition, some bedrooms have their own small fridges.
Some hostels have additional common areas where students can socialise or study. Hostels outside of the main College site have laundry facilities. For rooms in or adjacent to the main College site, there is a large, central laundry room. On the main College site there are also some music practice rooms, a large bicycle storage shed, and a small gym.
When you start as a first year, you are allocated accommodation by the College Accommodation Officer. You will be given a choice over two things: your preferred building and the length of lease. You can also specify if you wish to be guaranteed a room in at the lower end of the rent scale. The Accommodation Officer will also take into account any students with special accommodation needs (such as disabled access). First year students are currently allocated to the Keynes building (on-site, en-suite rooms) and Spalding Hostel. This changes from time to time according to circumstances. You will be living with other students studying a range of subjects.
As first years come to the end of the year they are put in a list according to a random ballot. This is the order in which they choose their rooms for the following year. The list is then reversed for the next year, so if you get a low ballot position for choosing your second-year room, you will have a very high position for your third year. Third years always choose before second years, and groups of friends can enter the ballot together so that they choose rooms at the same time (helping you to find rooms near one another).
All undergraduate rooms are available on either a 28/29-week lease (covering term time and a bit either side) or a 35-week lease (running from October to June minus 2-3 weeks over Christmas). Some rooms are available only on a 29-week lease (because they are used for interview candidates at Christmas, and school visits and conferences at Easter); other rooms are available for rent on a 29- or 35-week lease.
Rents for rooms are set according to the facilities they have (size, amenities, desirability, etc.), and are organised into 6 bands. The most expensive rent is £2083.09 per term (for the most expensive rent band on a 35-week lease), and the cheapest £1222.16 per term (for the least expensive rent band on a 28/29-week lease). Our rental prices are average amongst Cambridge colleges. We guarantee that students can choose a room at a low rent band in the ballot.
King's College accommodation is accredited by ANUK.