Frequently Asked Questions

Housing:

1. What are the suites like? Each suite is situated in an undergraduate residence hall, with a galley kitchen (stove, sink, cabinets, and a refrigerator) and a private bathroom. Some suites have two bedrooms (a double) which house two Resident Graduate Students (hereafter RGSs); some have one bedroom (a single) which house only one person, or a couple who are married/in a domestic partnership (refer to question 4).

2. Do I need to sign a contract with the Housing Office? Yes, you will sign a contract as is the case with all University housing. All RGSs are subject to the Housing Policies set forth in Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities.

3. Where will I get my mail? You will be assigned a mailbox in the Frist Student Center where you will be able to receive personal mail and packages.

4. Can I live with my spouse or domestic partner?

a. If your spouse or domestic partner is a Princeton University graduate student who meets the criteria for the RGS position, they may also apply for the position. Please indicate on both applications that you are applying as a couple so that you are placed in the same college pool.

b. If your spouse or domestic partner is NOT a PU graduate student or is ineligible for the position, you can live together in a suite designed for a single RGS (no couple will be allowed to live in one room of a double suite).

c. If you intend to live with a spouse, your marriage license must be on file with the Housing Office. Please submit a copy of your marriage license to Joe Johnson if you have not submitted one in the past. If you intend to live with a domestic partner, you must complete the Application for Domestic Partnership and upload it to your RGS application.

5. Can I bring my pet? Fish (in tanks that do not exceed ten gallons) may be kept in dormitories and annexes. Other pets are not allowed.

6. Can I bring my own furniture? The suites are fully furnished. If you prefer to bring your own bed, you may do so, but please be advised that the mattress is the *only* piece of furniture the University will store for you, and that not all suites have enough room for a full or queen-sized bed. The provided bedframes must be consolidated and stored in the room. You are welcome to bring bookcases and other small pieces of furniture to your suite. No additional University furniture will be added to the suite.

7. Will the University provide storage for items that do not fit in my suite? No storage is provided for furniture or other belongings that do not fit in your suite.

8. I’ve been offered a position in a college; when can I move into my suite? Barring any unusual circumstances, incoming RGSs will be able to move into their suites in mid- to late June of the summer preceding their appointment. You will be charged rent for the summer months (at the same rate that is charged during the academic year).

9. Can I stay in the suite during the summer? If you are returning for another year in the position, you may stay in your housing at the subsidized rent (which will change as of July 1). If you are not continuing as a RGS, you must vacate the suite immediately after Commencement (early June). If you are returning for another year, but do not wish to stay in your suite during the summer, you may vacate your suite and you will not be charged rent. However, you will not be allowed to leave any belongings in the suite, and by interrupting your housing contract you forfeit the right to retain the same suite the following year.

10. Are the suites air-conditioned? Each suite will be provided with air-conditioning, generally in the form of a floor cooling unit, if the building is not already equipped with air-conditioning. The type of accommodations will vary by college and by suite.

11. Can I sublet or lend my suite to someone else during term breaks or the summer? No.

12. May I have overnight guests? Yes, with the permission of your suite-mate, if you have one. The guidelines for overnight guests are articulated in detail in the Dorm and Annex Services Policies Guide.

Application:

1. Does the faculty recommendation need to come from a Princeton faculty member? Yes. If you are new to your program and have not yet formed a close relationship with an adviser, ask your Director of Graduate Studies to write a brief recommendation attesting to the fact that you are making good progress toward your degree. For the purposes of this application we are more interested in whether or not you are making normal progress than in the specifics of your research.

2. Can one of the recommendations come from someone at another institution I attended or from an employer? Yes. Especially if you have a reference who can speak to your ability to work with undergraduates and/or as a member of a team, we would be happy to read a recommendation from someone who knows you well.

3. Can the peer recommendation be from an undergraduate? Yes. Recommendations from an undergraduate you have worked with or from a graduate colleague are equally acceptable.

4. Can I submit more than two recommendations? Yes, but the selection committee will read no more than three recommendations.

5. Do I need to submit three recommendations to be a strong candidate? No. Quality rather than quantity is the rule.

6. If I specify a college or roommate preference, am I hurting my chances of being selected? No. All candidates will be assigned to a college pool. We try to take your preferences into account—and it is especially helpful for us to know your roommate preferences— but we do appreciate having as much flexibility as possible in making assignments since there are many factors to balance in the composition of the applicant pool for each college.

7. Am I guaranteed to get the college, room type, or roommate I request? While the selection committee takes applicant preference into account, it must also carefully consider each college’s individual needs and housing stock. That being the case, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to respect every applicant’s request.
8. How does the selection process work? All applications are considered by a central committee, and all applicants are assigned to an individual college pool. Each college reads all applications in their pool and determines whom to invite for an interview. Interviews take place in early February, and candidates selected for an interview are informed of the outcome of their application before relevant graduate housing deadlines so as not to disadvantage them in the graduate housing process.

9. Will I get an interview? Given the large number of candidates for a limited number of open spots, applicants are not guaranteed an interview.

10. Can I still apply if I have never lived in a residence hall? Yes, of course. Experience in a residence hall is not a pre-requisite for the position, although a familiarity with the issues of dorm life is useful.

11. What happens if I don’t pass the mandatory background check? Background check results may impact your ability to serve as an RGS, but will not affect your status as a student.

12. Can I still apply if I am in absentia this year? Yes.

13. I am an international student; am I eligible for the position? Yes.

 Responsibilities and Benefits:

1. What is the role of the RGS in college life? RGSs live in the residence hall, eat with undergraduates in the dining hall, and contribute in some meaningful way to the intellectual, social, cultural, or academic programming of the college in which they live.

2. How will I find out what my role is? Each college has a slightly different way of assigning roles. Once you are assigned to a college pool, you can ask the college staff how they function in this regard.

3. Do meals I eat with undergraduates count toward my 10 hours/week of service to the college? Yes.

4. Do I have guest meal passes? Each RGS has 10 guest meals per semester that they can use to bring friends or colleagues to the dining hall. Your spouse or domestic partner, even if they are living with you in the college, will NOT receive a meal plan although they may purchase one.

5. Can I use meals in any dining hall, the Center for Jewish Life, or Frist? No. Your meals are valid only in your college and in your paired college (Butler/First, Rocky/Mathey, Whitman/Forbes).

6. If I run out of meals before the end of the semester, can I get more? No.

7. Can I drink alcohol in my suite? If you are of legal drinking age, you may consume alcohol in your suite and serve it to other of-age, non-undergraduate friends. However, under no circumstances may you serve alcohol to undergraduates, regardless of their age, in your suite.

8. As an RGS, am I a mandatory reporter with respect to sexual misconduct? No, RGSs are not obligated to report instances of sexual misconduct that are disclosed to them. However, RGSs will be required to undergo annual training in which they learn how to supportively respond to disclosures related to sexual misconduct, as well as regarding resources available to those who have experienced sexual misconduct.

9. Will I be automatically reappointed if I want to stay? No. RGSs will be reappointed only if they are, in the view of the head of the college and the college staff, fulfilling the core requirements of the position and contributing meaningfully to the life of the college. Students wishing to be reappointed must submit an application. Please note that, subject to renewal, two years is normally the term limit of this appointment, although extensions beyond two years are possible in the case of exceptional performance in the position.

10. Can I be required to leave the position during the academic year? An RGS can be asked to step down at any time if they violate RGS or University policy, or act in such a way as to negatively impact the life of the college. Graduate Housing will attempt to find a new housing situation, should a RGS be required to leave their position.

11. In the event of emergency conditions (e.g. public health emergency), will I be required to live in the college if I want to keep my appointment? The RGS appointment is subject to modification based on applicable law, public health requirements and guidelines, and similar circumstances. In emergency conditions, an RGS may be permitted to live off-campus and continue in the role at the discretion of the college head. However, housing and dining benefits are not transferable. RGSs may be required to sign a social contract, similar to the one implemented by the University for the spring 2021 term, as a condition of residency.