Students petting a dog

Have you ever wanted to know where you'd be sorted at Hogwarts? Princeton has its own form of houses; each first-year student is assigned to one of six residential colleges: Butler, Forbes, Mathey, Rockefeller (Rocky), Whitman and Wilson. I’m grateful for these small communities within the larger campus.

When you find out your rooming assignment over the summer, you also find out your residential college or "res college" for short. Each res college encompasses several dorm buildings, a dining hall and has unique characteristics. Want to live in a castle? Hope for Rocky or Mathey. Do you prioritize a central location? Wilson might be for you. Prefer more modern amenities? Cross your fingers for Butler or Whitman. Students joke that Forbes is far from campus, but as a non-Forbesian, I often envy Forbes’ delicious food (especially Sunday brunch) and its great sense of community. So really, you can’t go wrong.

The residential college system is designed to support and advise students in a more individualistic manner through dedicated staff, such as the director of studies and director of student life whose jobs are to support their students in academic and non-academic areas. All first years and sophomores have to live in a res college, but even juniors and seniors are associated with one. I plan to stay in mine, Butler College, all four years.

There are also social benefits to the res college system. It provides awesome gear several times a year. They also run amazing trips and special events. I’ve gone to four Broadway shows through Butler, and the trip included an extremely discounted ticket and transportation to and from the show! Every week, Butler also holds study breaks with delicious free food. While you can eat in any dining hall on campus, there’s always something nice about going to the dining hall associated with your res college. The people start to look familiar, from the friendly students to the helpful employees. I’ve made friends just by sitting down with people in the dining hall, only to find out that they live right around the corner from me.

The residential college system fosters friendships and community for all undergraduate students. I definitely don’t know all 5,000+ students on campus, but I do know many of the students in Butler. I have a lot of pride for my res college, and soon you will too! It truly makes a big campus feel much smaller.

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