Residential Colleges - FAQs

Fairfield University's sophomore residential colleges provide students a special opportunity to explore their sense of vocation by connecting with faculty, mentors, staff and other students in a variety of ways. Residential colleges offer a fun and engaging community experience to consider some big, meaning of life questions and make connections between classroom learning and their lived experience. At Fairfield, we call this the integration of living and learning.

Q. What is the Sophomore Residential College Program at Fairfield University?

A.  Fairfield University’s Sophomore Residential Colleges provide students a special opportunity to explore their sense of purpose in the world by connecting with faculty, mentors, staff and other students in a variety of ways. Residential Colleges offer a fun and engaging community experience to help students learn more about themselves, determine how they want their lives to make a difference and discover their callings by aligning their gifts and passions.

Sophomores can choose among three Residential College experiences. Each College has three major components (Academic, Mentoring, Residential) in common, but each has a particular focus.

Q. What are the benefits of living in a Residential College community in my sophomore year?

A. Benefits include:

  • Living in a fun and engaging community
  • Developing some incredible friendships
  • Taking incredible courses specifically designed for the Residential Colleges
  • Early registration for your Residential College course
  • Connecting some of your coursework with your living experience
  • Enjoying some great dinners and conversations with faculty and staff right in your own building
  • Discussion with peers about real life issues
  • Being supported by a mentor and peers in a Mentoring Community
  • Opportunities to get off campus with peers to reflect on major life questions

Q. What are the major components and student commitment for this program?

A. While the overall time commitment is not very much, students who are accepted will need to sign a program Commitment form indicating their agreement to fully participate in the major components of the college. Components include the following:

  • Taking a Residential College course (no additional time, and not an additional course, but one from your regular course load that has been redesigned to address the Residential College questions or themes)
  • Attending an orientation session at the beginning of each semester (much shorter than your First Year Orientation!)
  • Participating in your Mentoring Community--an an hour-and-a-half-per-month gathering with 6-8 students
  • Attending a retreat once per semester (a 24-hour overnight once per semester)
  • Participating in service/direct-action projects or academic seminars as scheduled.

Students will also be invited to many other fun events, such as dinners or talks, and other programs both on and off campus. You choose which ones of those you want to attend.

Q. What is the difference between the three Residential Colleges?

A. Although all three of the Sophomore Residential Colleges focus on the question of allow students to look at their identity and their purpose in the world and have the same major components, each has a different focus.

Students in Creative Life Residential College look at the question of vocation through a creative lens. Students will examine various definitions of creativity and how they relate to their identity and passions.

The Ignatian Residential College offers students a year of communal and self-reflection, guided by the Jesuit values. While gaining a knowledge of their passions, students practice and enhance leadership skills that call them towards the service of a greater good within society.

The Service for Justice Residential College is rooted in social justice, service, and allows students to explore their various identities. By intentionally examining social justice issues, students are pushed to think about how they are called to use their privileges to help those who are oppressed.

Q. Where are the Residential College located?

A. Each of the Residential Colleges are located in their own unique building. In order to build community, students are encouraged to keep their doors open and get to know other students in the building.

The Creative Life Residential College is located in Faber Hall in the Village area. The rooms are suite style four-person rooms with a private bathroom and are co-ed per room.

The Ignatian Residential College is located in Loyola Hall in the Quad. The rooms are two-person traditional rooms with a community bathroom on each wing. The building is co-ed per wing.

The Service for Justice Residential College is located in 70 McCormick Road in the Quad. The rooms are two-person traditional rooms with a community bathroom on each floor. The building is co-ed per floor.

There will be two separate housing lotteries for residential colleges and non-residential college students.

Q. What are the roles of the mentors?

A. A real gift that mentors provide is creating and holding a space for students to come together and safely share their lives with one another. The Mentor’s role is to help facilitate a discussion among everyone in the group, encouraging all to share their experiences, insights, and reflections.

Mentoring Community meetings are student centered. The mentor’s role is not to be the sole leader or authority. The Mentoring Communities have value only if all in the group contribute meaningfully. No one individual is the only guide, but rather individuals accompany each other on the journey of mentorship, community, and trust.

Q. What courses are offered to students wishing to be part of this program?

A. Each semester, students must take at least one Residential College course, specifically designed for the program. Residential College courses are a fundamental component of the overall Residential College experience. The courses provide opportunity for students to integrate their lived experiences with their formal academic learning as they explore their deepest desires, passions, and sense of vocation.

In the fall semester, Residential College courses focus on the question of Who am I?. Spring semester, courses focus on the theme of each individual Residential College:  creativity, leadership and social justice. Courses are not intended to be an additional course, but one that will fit into a student’s core or major requirements. Courses are offered in areas such as History, Philosophy, Religion, History, English, Nursing, Business, Visual Arts and many others.

Q. How do I apply?

A. Students interested in participating in a Residential College their Sophomore year at Fairfield University must fill out a short online application which can be found at available beginning December 1. The application is the common application for all three of the Residential Colleges. Applicants can rank order one, two, or all three residential colleges they wish to apply for. Students can apply alone or with a friend. Students who wish to apply for Creative Life, can only apply with one friend even though the rooms are quads.

Organizational review teams for each of the Residential Colleges review the applications. If a student is not accepted for their first choice, they will then be considered for their second or third choice if one was designated. Acceptance letters will be sent to students via email at the end of February beginning of March.

Students accepted into one of Fairfield’s Residential Colleges should understand it is a privilege that comes with responsibility. Students who wish to participate in a Residential College must make a commitment and be open to attending and actively participating in the major components of the college.

Please know that acceptance into one of Fairfield's Residential Colleges is a privilege that comes with responsibility. Students who wish to live in a residential college must make a commitment to attend and actively participate in the major components of the college and be open to investing themselves in these experiences throughout the year. Failure to participate (without prior arrangements/correspondence or staff approval) may result in the loss of living in this community.