Frequently Asked Questions
What is a residential college? Learn about Princeton's residential college system, home to all underclassmen and many juniors and seniors.
What does my student need to prepare for the fall?
- Complete the online Not Anymore! and Alcohol.edu programs found on the Matriculation Online website
- Contact roommates
- Explore their residential college website (not just now, but during the year, too)
Where does my student get coursebooks? You can find all the books assigned for your classes at the University’s bookstore, Labyrinth Books, all at 30% off. Labyrinth also has a guaranteed buyback program: end-savings translate to 55% off all new books and 62.5% off all used books. Books are, moreover, available to rent. Two weeks before the start of classes, all coursebook information is viewable in your course sites via the “Books” tab on Canvas.
What should my student bring to school? There is a useful website dedicated to what should be brought to campus, what should be left at home, and what can be purchased for the dorm room.
How does move-in work? All first-year students check in at the Forum Level of the Lewis Arts Complex, convenient to parking and public transportation. You will want to download our mobile app which includes a campus map. At Baker Rink students will receive their TigerCard University ID, an information packet, a move-in map and a parking hang-tag, which allows you to park near your Residential College to unload. Returning students follow a similar process.
How should my student plan to share space with their roommates?
They need to sit down and talk about how they want to set up the space and set ground rules; they may also want to complete a roommate contract.
Can my student have a car? First-years and sophomores are not permitted to have a vehicle on campus. See this guide to getting around the Princeton area without a car.
My child is an international student. Who do we contact about visas, etc.? The Davis International Center can assist with student visa information and related forms and support services.
My student has a medical condition/disability which will require special needs housing. Who should they contact? Please see the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students for all requests related to Special Needs Housing.
When is it appropriate for families to contact the residential college staff? You should encourage your student to speak with us themselves prior to parental intervention. However, if you are worried about your student's physical or psychological well-being or safety, you should call the college office at the number below. We will be happy to listen to your concerns, and will do our best to support your student.
- If you have a concern about your child's safety please call Public Safety at 609-258-1000 to request a welfare check. For emergencies, call 609-258-3333.
- Will I be able to talk confidentially with the college staff? We cannot promise absolute confidentiality in every case, as it is our usual policy to inform students when we speak with their parents.
- When might I expect to hear from the college staff? We will certainly call you if your student is in imminent danger, or if we are so concerned about their safety and/or well-being that we think you need to be involved. We will also inform you if your student's status at Princeton is likely to change; if they face a serious disciplinary charge, or a separation from the University for academic reasons. Fortunately, these circumstances are rare.
College Office numbers:
- Butler: 609-258-3474
- First: 609-258-3629
- Forbes: 609-258-6094
- Mathey: 609-258-5717
- Rockefeller: 609-258-3728
- Whitman: 609-258-8900
How do I best support my student during their Princeton career? College is an exciting and daunting time for both students and their families. Our institutional goal is to produce competent and capable adults who are able to manage their own affairs. To this end, we recommend active familial support with an eye towards autonomy. This is a difficult balance to achieve, and will look quite different for each family.
How can my student get involved in the University community? There are many different ways to get involved at Princeton, from the residential college council, to intramural sports, to student organizations, to volunteer activities through the Pace Center. Your student should take a look at the manifold options before the fall, and decide on a few to check out in September. They should also talk to their Residential College Adviser (RCA) about fun things to do on campus once they get here—upperclassmen are always an invaluable source of information.
Who will be advising my student during the first two years? The director of studies at each residential college has primary responsibility for academic advising of first-years and sophomores. Students have access to many other advising resources as well.
If my student is struggling academically, where should I send them? You should always encourage your student to speak directly with their course instructors. They may also make an appointment with their director of studies (first-years and sophomores) or college dean (juniors and seniors).
If my student is sick, what should I do? If your student is ill, ask them to head straight over to the McCosh Health Center. For a life-threatening emergency they should call 911.