As the start of term draws ever closer, we are very much looking forward to welcoming you. Nonetheless, we are conscious that you are joining us after a period of unexpected disruption to your studies. For some, this may be causing worry about your next steps. We are committed to supporting you in the transition to the University and are sure you will thrive here.

You may have concerns about what is expected of you academically in the coming months. This will become clearer as you begin your course induction. However, we have collated a range of online resources that may help to reassure and prepare you for your return to study and the start of your new chapter here in Cambridge.

These are entirely optional. Dip in now if you wish, and you might even want to save this email to return to later or when the term has begun. Many STEM students have subject specific transition year work provided for them by their Directors of Studies and departments so this is for information and in case you wish to explore other resources as well.


CamGuides is a range of resources designed explicitly to support you as you begin your studies. Browse this website for practical skills such as referencing and reading lists as well as information on what you can expect from your learning and interactions with our students and academic staff. This has been updated to include tips on remote learning.

Wolfson College’s Library has put together guides for academic writing, note-taking, time management and more. There are further helpful guides from LibGuides by Cambridge University Library. This includes the use of tools to aid with reading on screens as well as subject resources.

The Transkills website was specifically designed to support students starting their studies at Cambridge. It contains some subject-specific guidance for students starting courses in Biological Sciences, Divinity (though also highly recommended for all essay-writing subjects), Economics, English, Geography, History, Law and Linguistics and Modern Languages. Some Faculty websites also have links to resources, like this study skills guide for new students in Mathematics and a short book on writing essays for Philosophy.

Finally, if you have concerns about your wellbeing, you might like to read a University Counselling Service guide on the transition to university.

Student mentoring

Cambridge Student Union has several mentoring/buddy schemes run by students for students. These include schemes for disabled students, women students, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students, BME women and non-binary students, LGBT+ students and students who self-identify as working-class, low income, are the first generation of their family to attend university or are care experienced or estranged from their family.

Top tips 

We asked some current students to reflect on what they wish they’d known before starting their studies. Click here to see some of the things they said.