Integrating Living and Learning
At the heart of the undergraduate experience
The first of Yale’s twelve residential colleges opened its doors in 1933, thanks to the vision and support of Edward H. Harkness B.A. 1897. Since that time, the colleges have been at the very heart of the undergraduate experience.
More than just buildings, or even dormitories, the colleges support the academic and social needs of every student. True to Harkness’s original vision, the newest colleges will build on the best elements of the current system.
Bridging academics and student life
Yale’s residential colleges integrate living and learning, bringing together faculty and students in a way that is nearly unmatched in American collegiate education. Each college is led by a master and a dean, and both reside in the college with their families. Living together, students and faculty regularly cross paths, and the common spaces help facilitate this regular connection. The dining hall, in particular, exists at the center of college social life. Students, the master, dean, faculty, and fellows frequent the hall for meals, which helps to solidify a sense of togetherness.
For many students, the colleges bridge academic and social life, with programs of formal advising, seminars, and prizes as well as activities that encourage students’ extracurricular interests. Each college’s common spaces support these programs, providing students with opportunities to pursue the depth and breadth of their passions, from athletics to the arts.
Old Yale spirit in a growing University
When Edward Harkness made his seminal gift to establish the residential college system, he did so with a desire to retain the strength and spirit of Yale as it grew to become a thriving university.
Mr. Harkness succeeded in his goal. Today, the residential colleges remain one of Yale’s most distinctive assets, offering students the very best of both worlds in collegiate learning, a tight-knit small college experience combined with the exceptional resources that define a large research institution.
This tradition will continue as the residential college system expands to accommodate even more of the world’s best and brightest young minds.