Welcome to Bristol.
Welcome to CSS.

Congratulations on getting a place at the University of Bristol! We’re Bristol’s Computer Science Society, and run tonnes of fun and interesting events throughout the year, ranging from tech-talks, workshops, hackathons and bar crawls.

Don’t worry about joining us - as a Computer Science student, you’re automatically enrolled!

Freshers checklist

  • Sign up to join a family!
  • Sign up for SU Welcome week events
  • Sync your calendar to recieve notfications about all of our events

Family Scheme

You may have already been contacted about the university’s peer mentoring scheme, but CSS runs its own Family scheme which you should definitely also sign up for. You’ll be assigned a family of other first years, and two parents from one of the upper years assigned to you.

Whereas the University-run peer mentoring scheme focuses on academic help, we will also host family socials to give you a chance to mingle with other CS students and make the transition to University easier.

To sign up to join a family, please fill in the form below:


‘Do I need to bring a laptop/desktop?’

Unfortunatly this year the University is mandating you bring your own device. It doesn’t have to be powerful, in fact we would recommend a small and light one. Contrary to the University’s advice, I’d recommend a Chromebook as they have full linux support

‘Where is [insert] lecture?’

No one knows! Seriously, we still all get lost, just ask someone on campus or follow everyone else.

‘I don’t know how to code!’

That’s fine! The assumption in lectures is that you haven’t done any coding before, so you’ll learn from scratch.

‘What languages do we learn?’

In your first year you’ll learn C, Haskell and Java. You can generally use whatever you want in projects in later years though.

‘How hard is the maths unit?’

As long as you go to the lectures/seminars & ask friends it’ll be fine. Just remember everyone else will be finding it as difficult as you are, and you only need 40% to pass!

‘Is the course hard?’

It can be challenging, but you getting onto the course means you’re good enough to get through it 🙂.

‘What textbooks do I need?’

You’ll get told when you start lectures, but no paid books are required. Any textbooks needed will be availiable through the library either physically or as an E-book. And we absolutely cannot recommend seaching for "${TEXTBOOK NAME} pdf".

‘How many notebooks will I need?’

Hard to answer, but I’d suggest around 1 per unit. It varies massively though, so I’d see how you’re doing first. You can bring laptops to lectures too if you prefer that. We’d recommend using software like OneNote or Notion to organise your notes as it keeps them searchable and you can add relations between pages.

‘How can we get involved in css?’

Everyone is welcome to Join our tech-talks, socials and competitions. But if you want even more involvement, why not run for our first year rep? Elections (EGM) will run sometime in November so keep an eye out for the announcement. If you have any suggestions for events, we’d also love to hear them!

‘How do you cope with stress and stay in sound mental health?’

Everyone struggles at some point during the year, and it’s important that you don’t feel afraid to ask for help. Your tutor, and the first year senior tutor should be your first point of contact if you’re struggling–telling them earlier means that you can get help earlier. The university also offers counselling and other wellbeing services which we’ve written more about here: https://cssbristol.co.uk/wellbeing/

‘Can I mine bitcoin on the supercomputer?’


Don’t miss out

We’ll be planning events throughout the year (with lots of free pizza), so make sure you don’t miss any events by syncing your calendar with our events calendar, or subscribing to our RSS feed.

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