The University of Cambridge is a collegiate university, and all its students are members of a College. When using the Applicant Portal for admission, you can indicate two College preferences for College membership or you can make an open application which will allow a computer program to make College choices for you.
The academic decision on whether to recommend you for a place on your chosen course is made by the department to which you apply, not the College. Your application papers will be sent to the Colleges only after a formal academic offer of admission has been made by the Board of Graduate Studies.
Your application will be considered in sequence by a maximum of five different Colleges until a College offers you membership. The first two Colleges that consider your application will be determined by your preference. Should those Colleges decide not to accept you, the further three choices will be determined by the computerised allocation process.
Applicants should be aware that certain Colleges fill up early. If a College closes to new applications before you receive an offer of admission, your application will not be considered by that College.
In every case, if you have been made a formal offer of admission by the University, you will be accepted by a College.