School Tours

It can be a little daunting at times to have to take a bunch of students around Queens’ and tell them all about it. The idea of tours is that they are a chance for the students to hear about what life is like a Queens’ in an honest way from a current student. Therefore, tours are more about getting across what life is like at Queens’ more than showing off all of the facilities. Feel free to make up your own routes around college, tell them about your own stories and experiences and just be honest!

If you would like a suggested tour route and idea of things you can talk about check out the suggested tour page.

A good idea is to try to cover these basic topics at some point:

  • Accomodation
  • Food and cooking
  • Academics (supervisions)
  • Extracurriculars and societies
  • Social life
  • Money and bursaries
  • Questions

If you are stuck for things to say here are a couple of facts about Queens’:

A few facts…

  • Queens’ was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou who was the wife of Henry VI and then re-founded in 1465 by the rival queen Elizabeth Woodville.
  • The president’s Lodge of Queens’ is the oldest building on the river at Cambridge, built around 1460
  • The Old Library was built in 1448, part of Old Court, and sitting between the President’s Lodge and the original chapel. It is one of the earliest purpose-built libraries in Cambridge. The current library was formerly the original chapel, part of Old Court.
  • The mathematical bridge is officially the wooden bridge. It is often said that it was designed by Newton without nuts and bolts and then disassembled by students who required nuts and bolts to put it back together again. The bridge was actually built in 1749 22 years after Newton died.
  • Some famous Queens’ alumni include Stephen Fry, Erasmus, Michael Foale (Astronaut), Simon Bird (Played Will in Inbetweeners), Hannah Murray (Actress in Game of thrones and Skins)

But all of these facts can be found on Wikipedia so the most important things to talk about are your own experiences and stories.

Be open, honest and yourself!

A suggested tour…

If you want a little bit of an idea of where you could take students for a tour and what you could say here is a suggested tour route… (this a suggestion, there is no pressure to follow this at all)

The Schools Liaison Officer will tell you where to pick up the students from and at what time so where the tour starts might vary. However, in this case let’s say the tour is starting from Plodge.

Great the students and introduce yourself, make sure to say what you are studying and what year you are currently in. If it is a big group, the students may be split up between a number of students who are carrying out the tours.

  • Cross over the mathematical bridge and walk through cloister court. Now might be a good time to explain that Queens’ is split between two sides (the light side and the dark side) and that Queens’ is one of the oldest colleges in Cambridge (founded in 1448). If you can remember things about Queens’ history that is great, but this is a tour about current students not a history lesson so don’t stress too much about the facts!
  • Walk over to old hall and see if you can look inside. This is a good spot to talk about formals and traditions at Queens’. Maybe talk about some other social things too where you don’t have to dress up in black tie!
  • Walk into old court and point out the library, if the group isn’t too big you can walk through the library to show them around. This is often a good time to talk about the academic side of Cambridge, you could tell them about supervisions you have and how your timetables differ between subjects. Supervisions really are the things that set Oxbridge apart and so are definitely worth talking about. It might also be good to explain the system of Directors of Study as this system is another way in which students are offered far more support at Cambridge than at many other universities.
  • Mention other ways that students can receive support such as through financial bursaries and grants. Even if you do not receive one yourself it is important to talk about them. The system of moving out of rooms actually makes Cambridge the most affordable university in the country contrary to the common opinion that it is unaffordable. It might also be good to briefly mention that the tuition fees are not more expensive at Cambridge than other places and that student loans are available for anyone to take out- but this is not specific to Queens’ or Cambridge so teachers should be able to explain this too.
  • Walk through into walnut tree court and over to the chapel. The chapel is open most of the time and so do go in and have a look. Mention that this is free to use for everyone.
  • It might be a good place to talk about the carol service if you have been to that or the matriculation service. Mention the choir too – Queens’ has one of the best choirs in Cambridge for the commitment level.
  • It might be a good place to tell them about extracurricular activities that you are involved in or things that your friends do. Even if you are not involved in them, try to mention a couple of sports or music groups which are around in Queens’ such as the boat club or Magsoc.
  • Show Erasmus and Friars buildings and maybe explain that Queens’ is quite special as it has 3 years on site accommodation which is quite rare for such a central college. It is often really nice to show students some example accommodation and so, if you feel comfortable, you could show them your room.
  • Cross over the light side and go to the buttery, café and bar. Talk through catering at Queens’ and that students can decide to what extent they would like to cook or not. Whilst in the bar it is a great time to explain bops!
  • If you have time you can show them the gym and squash courts or if you fancy you could even go up to the rooftop garden.

This is just an example of some places you might like to show and things you might like to talk about but please do not feel any pressure at all to stick to this!

The key things to make sure you have talked about are your own stories and experiences. Be open, honest and yourself!