Now more than 75 years old, Yale’s residential college system is perhaps the most distinctive feature of undergraduate life at Yale. It provides a built-in, tight-knit family for students from the moment they arrive, blending diversity, camaraderie, and pride for one’s residential community.
Big & Small
Far more than just dormitories, Yale’s residential colleges serve as a home away from home for students. Each college has its own library, gym, dining hall, and activity spaces – from movie theatres and recording studios to basketball courts and printing presses – all housed in distinctive, stunning buildings that center around grassy courtyards.
The term “college” can be misleading. Yale’s residential colleges have nothing to do with majors. Instead, all students are randomly assigned to a college before they even arrive on campus and spend all four years living alongside that cohort. Each college creates a microcosm of the undergraduate student body, blending the cohesiveness and intimacy of a small school with the vibrancy and resources of a world-class university.
Diversity & Community
The colleges provide an exceptional opportunity to meet and learn from students with different interests – people students might not otherwise encounter in their courses or extracurricular activities. Many students form their closest and most enduring friendships through their college, though students can choose to engage in residential college life as much as they like.
The colleges also bring together faculty and students to form an integrated support system. Each college hosts guest speakers, fellowships, and cultural events. With programs of formal advising, seminars, and activities that encourage students’ extracurricular interests, the colleges create a dynamic bridge between academic and social life.