Clare College Cambridge

Ella Sbaraini

I applied to Clare because I had heard it was a really friendly and relaxed college. I also thought it was really beautiful, and loved the fact that the Cam goes through its gardens - in the summery months you can sit on its banks and have picnics! The underground bar and weekly ‘ents’ nights also seemed cool, and I just generally liked the fun and chilled-out atmosphere. I had also heard that the food was really good!

Studying history at Clare has been totally amazing. The fellows there are super welcoming, interesting and kind, and the DOSs (Director of Studies) and supervisors I have had at Clare have been fantastic. I personally couldn’t have studied a more interesting subject at a better place. It’s just been so cool to be taught by such inspiring and successful historians, and to be given lots of freedom to explore my academic interests. I have also always felt really supported (academically and otherwise), and have felt like part of a big Clare ‘family’.

DOS meetings, HAP (Historical Argument and Practice) classes, history catch-ups and exam meetings are often run as a year-group, so you will also get to know other Clare history students really well. Everyone here has been really lovely and friendly and, when first arriving at Cambridge, it was so nice to have a group of people to meet up and hang out with straight away. You will get to know each other really well over the three years, and it’s so great to always have people to share worries (and joys!) with.

I found my interview both enjoyable and terrifying. Clare offers overnight accommodation to students who live far away or have a really early interview (8.30am, why) and it was really nice to meet other applicants. My first interview (which was focused mainly on an unseen source) was really fun, and the interviewers were really friendly. My second interview (which was focused on two essays I had submitted) was definitely not as pleasant, because I did feel a bit out of my depth. If you feel like this during your interview don’t be worried! Although it sounds a bit cringey, just be yourself, and be willing to try out new ideas.

Clare also has loads of societies, and it’s really easy to get involved and meet cool people. At Cambridge I’ve really enjoyed trying out a bit of am-dram and getting involved in the Clare JCR (a body of students which represents student interests at the college). In all, the worse thing about studying undergraduate history at Clare is that, for me, it’s nearly over.