For the next four years, you will be part of the Princeton University community dedicated to learning and home to a diverse, international mix of students and cultures. The Undergraduate Housing Office looks forward to making your living arrangements as comfortable and supportive as possible.
Princeton’s six Residential Colleges—Butler, Forbes, Mathey, Rockefeller, Whitman and Wilson—are at the center of undergraduate life and offer close-knit, comfortable communities where you will live, eat, study, and socialize.
Your Residential College and Roommate
For the next two years, you’ll live in one of the Residential Colleges on campus. All freshmen and sophomores must live and dine in a residential college. In assigning your new home, the incoming class is divided into six sections—reflecting the make-up of the class as a whole—and then each section is assigned electronically to one of the six colleges.
With the staff at each Residential College, we review the information you submitted on your housing and dining forms and assign your roommate based on that information. As closely as possible, we match roommates according to lifestyles and habits, and while some roommate arrangements need a period of adjustment, friendships usually evolve quickly.
Your Residential College and roommate assignment will be sent to your Princeton email address in mid-July. You can check your Welcome Class site for the exact date of the email. In the email, we’ll also direct you to your housing and dining contracts online, and you will be asked to electronically accept the contracts prior to a stated deadline.
You’ll need your NetID and LDAP password to access your email account. If you have any difficulty with your NetID and LDAP password, contact the OIT Help desk at (609) 258-4357 (609-258-HELP).
Support and Advice
There is a wealth of support and advice available through your Residential College, and we encourage you to take full advantage of it. Each college has a faculty head, dean, director of studies, and director of student life, and academic advising for freshmen and sophomores is based at the colleges.
As a freshman, you’re assigned a faculty academic adviser, who is also a fellow of your Residential College. Your faculty adviser is your primary source of academic guidance and approves your course selection and course changes. He or she works closely with your college dean and director of studies, who also provide advice on courses and programs and handling academic administrative matters.
Every freshman has a Residential College adviser, a junior or senior, who is on hand to help with your adjustment to college life, answer questions, and act as leaders and mentors in all aspects of life at the University. You can also get guidance from peer academic advisers, juniors and seniors who assist your faculty adviser and offer a student perspective on selecting classes and successfully navigating academics. Resident graduate students from a range of academic departments live in your college and share their wisdom on courses and paths of study.
Activities in the Residential Colleges
In your first days on campus, you’ll quickly get to know your fellow Residential College members, learn about the college’s culture, and, if you’re like most students, adopt with pride and enthusiasm your college’s identity.
As individual communities, the colleges help define life at Princeton. Each has its own distinctive architecture, with a cluster of dormitories, dining halls, common rooms, academic spaces, and arts and entertainment resources.
The colleges offer a diverse range of activities and events—from intramural sports, organized study breaks, foreign language tables, and book clubs to 5K running races, Broadway show outings, lectures, and concerts. A casino night is a staple of one college’s social calendar, while others host regular barbecues, themed meals, and numerous social events. Different colleges also interact with each other through social events and intramural sports.
Your dorm room or suite is home for the next year, and creating your own comfortable space will make everyday life in your Residential College more enjoyable.
Personalize Your Space
Your room is furnished with an extra-long twin bed, dresser, desk and chair, small bookcase, and waste and recycling cans. A closet or secured wardrobe is also provided for each person. You and your roommates may configure the furniture in your room any way you like, with the exception of the wardrobe which must remain in its original secured location. All of the furniture (including bunk bed ladders and rails) must remain in the room for the year, although the mattress may be removed and stored by Building Services, (609) 258-3490.
Feel free to bring furnishings and decorations to personalize your room, with the exception of candles and incense. Small lamps and battery-operated candles are good alternatives for atmosphere or mood lighting.
You may hang pictures and posters on your wall, but be sure to use poster mounts, not nails, pins and screws. If you would like to hang a heavy item on your wall, contact a Housing Inspector for advice. You may hang a bicycle in your room with hooks that can be installed by University carpenters.
Windows coverings and carpets
Your dorm room windows come with roller shades, and you may hang curtains. But since window sizes vary, we recommend purchasing them after you arrive on campus. Likewise, since room layouts are so different, carpets are best purchased after your arrival. Room dimension and window sizes cannot be provided ahead of time.
Bunking Your Bed
If you want to bunk your beds and don’t have the necessary ladder, rail, and set of bunking pegs, you can request them from the Facilities Service Center by calling 609-258-8000 during regular business hours (M-F, 8:45 AM - 5:00 PM).
If you unbunk your beds, the unused ladder, rail, and set of bunking pegs must remain in the room for the year.
Many rooms have white message boards on the wall beside the room doors, but if yours does not, you may install your own.
Store Your Belongings
Over the summer, you can store your belongings through the Princeton Student Agencies Moving and Storage Agency for a fee. The agency will move your items from your room, place them in storage, and deliver them to you again in the fall.
What To Bring
You should bring pillows, blankets, a mattress cover and linens for an extra-long twin bed, towels and washcloths. Extra-long linens are available in most bath and bedroom supply stores, and you can also buy them online at the Princeton Student Agencies or the Princeton University Store websites. In both cases you can order them in advance and pick them up when you arrive on campus in the fall.
- Mattress cover
- Laundry basket or bag
- Laundry detergent
- Shower caddy
- Shower shoes
- Towels and washcloths
- Power strip with built-in breaker
- School supplies
- Desk lamp (no halogen lamps)
- Alarm clock
- Electric fan and/or HEPA Filter
- Cleaning supplies (broom, dust pan, window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner)
The University cleans the public spaces in all dorms, including the hallways, common rooms, and common bathrooms, but you are responsible for cleaning your room and your private bathroom if you live in a suite.
Having cleaning supplies on hand—a dust mop, glass cleaner, general purpose cleaner and paper towels—will help you keep up with it. Building Services provides cleaning supplies for suites.
What Not to Bring
- Flammable fluids
- Air conditioner
- Ceiling fan
- Halogen lamps
- Heat-producing appliances (except those on authorized appliance list) including grill, hot pot, toaster, toaster oven, microwave oven, space heater, large refrigerator, non-breaker electrical adapters
Princeton has you covered with TigerCard electronic access to your dorm and meal plan, high speed Internet and computer resources.
Your TigerCard is your official Princeton University ID card, and you will receive it when you pick up your housing packet at move in. It’s also an all-in-one campus card that gives you access to your dorm, library, and athletic facilities; allows you to buy food or use your meal plan; offers free admission to many athletic events; use copiers; purchase apparel and books; and more.
Through Paw Points—money added to your TigerCard—you can purchase items at the Princeton University Store, all campus dining halls and the Frist Campus Center, ticketing offices, and student agencies.
You gain entry to your dorm though a keyless lock, using your TigerCard for access. The University’s system of keyless locks for all undergraduate and graduate dormitories allows a higher level of security by requiring a dual validation for entry, meaning that a TigerCard and your four-digit PIN are required for entry into a dorm room. Access My Housing for Undergraduates to obtain your PIN.
All dorms are wireless enabled.
You may direct questions regarding computers and networking to the Office of Information Technology (OIT) help desk, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 609-258-HELP (4357) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residential Computing Consultants can also provide assistance in your dorm room.
Student Computer Initiative
If you plan to buy a computer, check out the Student Computer Initiative which provides Princeton students with aggressively priced, highly capable computers.
Sharing meals in the Residential College dining halls is an important part of the undergraduate experience at Princeton.
Residential College Dining Halls
You Have Options
As a freshman, you’ll eat most of your meals at your own Residential College or in one of the other residential dining halls.
Incoming students are given the Unlimited base plan.
The unlimited plan allows you unlimited access to the Residential College dining halls.
Your TigerCard is your meal card, and you’ll swipe it as you enter the dining halls. Your meal plan is encoded in your card, and each swipe of your card is counted toward your meal plan allowance.
Be sure to take a look at the Campus Dining website for details on meal plans and other campus eateries.
Retail & Kosher Dining
In addition to the Residential College dining halls, you can also get meals and snacks at several campus locations, including the Woodrow Wilson Café, Chancellor Green Café, EQuad Café, and Genomics Café, for self-service meals; the Center for Jewish Life, for kosher dining; and the Frist Campus Center, for an eclectic mix of eateries in a food court setting.
You can check the hours, see menus, and get specific information for each on the Campus Dining website.
The University realizes that you may not always be able to eat during the regular dining hall hours, so you may use your meal plan to buy a late lunch, Monday through Friday, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM, and a late dinner, Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM, at the Frist Campus Center Food Gallery. One meal swipe is allotted for a late meal purchase.
You can get a bag lunch, Lunch-to-Go, Monday through Friday from Residential College dining halls and some retail locations.
Meal Exchange Program
The Meal Exchange Program, administered by the Inter-Club Council and Dining Services, lets you enjoy meals with friends at eating clubs without spending extra money.
Washers and dryers are located in dormitories across campus and they are free to use. Irons and ironing boards are not provided, but you may bring your own to campus.
If you want to have laundry service for a fee, you can contact the Princeton Student Agencies Laundry Agency, which will pick up your laundry each week, take it to a professional laundry service, and deliver it within three days to your room—washed, dried, and folded, or on hangers.
Your Mailbox at the Frist Center
As an undergraduate, you will have your own mailbox—located on the 100 level of the Frist Campus Center—for mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Campus mail addressed to students in their academic departments is delivered to the departments.
It’s good advice to check your mailbox regularly and make sure it is always locked. You can discard unwanted mail and flyers in the recycling bins. Do not send cash through the mail—use checks or money orders—and make sure that gift cards are sent with tracking such as certified mail or delivery notification.
At the end of the academic year, all mail will be redirected to your permanent home address. If you are changing addresses at the end of the academic year, you should submit a change of address to Frist Campus Mail Services, and your mail will be sent to your new address.
Package Pickup at Frist
When you receive certified, registered, priority express, or parcel post mail, you’ll get an email notification. To pick up your mail or package, go to the package pickup window at 118 Frist Campus Center and sign for your item.
You'll need your TigerCard, and only you can sign for packages that are addressed to you.
Outgoing Mail - Drop-off
Outgoing mail can be dropped off at Frist Campus Center, your Residential College office, the Porter's Lodge at the Graduate College, and additional locations identified by academic departments.
You can most easily navigate Princeton’s 500-acre campus on foot or by bicycle following the paved pathways that connect dorms, academic and administrative buildings, and other facilities.
Bring your bicycle
Bicycles on campus are encouraged, so if you have one, be sure to bring it. Register your bike with Transportation & Parking Services, which has bike policies, online registration, and safety regulations on its website.
The Department of Public Safety can provide—for a fee—a U-shaped lock for locking your bike to the many bike stands throughout campus. If you want to hang your bike in your room, contact the Facilities Customer Service Center and they will install hooks.
The TigerTransit shuttle is a great way to get around campus. It provides safe, convenient, and reliable transportation and operates on a fixed route schedule, stopping at academic and administrative buildings, undergraduate and graduate housing, Nassau Street, and even the Forrestal Center and Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.
TigerTransit can also transport you to and from the Princeton Junction train station late at night when the Dinky is not running.
The campus is connected to the New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains at Princeton Junction by a two-car train known fondly as the "Dinky." You’ll find the Dinky Station just below McCarter Theatre on the campus map. From Princeton Junction a one-hour train ride on New Jersey Transit or Amtrak will take you to Manhattan or Philadelphia.
As a pedestrian campus, Princeton’s campus is not navigated by car. If you choose to bring a vehicle for driving off-campus, you must register it with Transportation & Parking Services to obtain a parking permit. Freshmen may not bring a car on campus.
Orange Key Tours
A long-standing tradition at Princeton, Orange Key Tours are led by student volunteers who enthusiastically share their love and knowledge of Princeton with prospective students and visitors. You may have taken a tour before arriving on campus, but if not, an Orange Key Tour is the best way to get a feel for the exciting community that will be your home for the next four years.
You’ll learn about the facilities on campus, get a sense of the 250-plus years of history and traditions that only Princeton can claim, and hear some fun facts and anecdotes. The tours last about 45 minutes and describes the campus beyond the stimulating classes, renowned faculty, and world-class resources at Princeton.
Orange Key Tours are offered year-round, and you won’t need a reservation unless you have a group of ten or more people. Tour and information session times are listed online along with suggested itineraries. A virtual tour is available as well.
The Town of Princeton
Downtown Princeton is a destination for dining, shopping, events, and the arts, and a cultural base for students and residents.
Nassau Street and Palmer Square
At the heart of downtown Princeton is Palmer Square, a mix of offices, residential space, shops, bars, and restaurants The square is anchored by the historic Nassau Inn and faces the University and Nassau Street—the main commercial street in downtown Princeton and the boundary between the campus and town.
Along Nassau Street and on the side streets that intersect it, you’ll find high-end clothing stores such as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, and Barbour; jewelers; bookstores; and gift stores.
Eat and drink
There’s no shortage of restaurants and pubs to visit, from the Alchemist & Barrister, Winberie’s, and Triumph Brewing Company to PJ’s Pancake House and Hoagie Haven, long-time favorites of students and residents. There are numerous spots for coffee and snack breaks, like Small World Coffee and Panera Bread.
Movies and theater
You can see the latest movies and documentaries at the Princeton Garden Theater, which offers discounts to students (bring your student ID).
On the west side of campus near the train station, McCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts is one of the nation’s leading theaters and most active cultural centers in the nation, offering more than 200 performances of theater, dance, music, and special events each year.