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 a residential college?

A. A residential college is a place to get to know the people and life stories of those in your community. It's a place to relax, call your second home, have fun, and be yourself. It is a safe and comfortable environment where students explore what's going on in your life inside and outside the classroom.

The residential college environment provides opportunities to struggle together through common challenges like homework, courses and majors, as well as the chance to talk about "real" life issues you are experiencing. While each residential college has a particular focus, students involved come from many different places, each bringing their different points of view, life experiences, hopes, desires, and interests.

All residential colleges consider the question of vocation and engage students through our Ignatian paradigm: creating meaningful experiences, providing intentional opportunities for reflection, and encouraging action that serves others in need.

As a "College" each of our residential colleges include courses and intellectual challenges, mentoring communities, retreats, and opportunities for significant personal and group reflection, and students who seek to engage one another and faculty/staff and guests in conversations about life and ones sense of vocation. For them to be meaningful and worthwhile, student participation and engagement is required.

As "Residential" the place where students live forms an intentional community where all can engage one another, faculty, staff, mentors, and guests in social, spiritual, intellectual conversations and events. Students become involved, offer program ideas and take ownership of their mentoring communities, assist at retreats and other events. Students also enjoy experiencing their year together, sharing ideas, joys, and hopes, and hopefully making this their best year yet here at Fairfield.

Q. What are the benefits of living in a residential college for my sophomore year?

A. Benefits include:

  • Living in a fun and engaging community
  • Developing some incredible friendships
  • Enjoying some great dinners and conversation with faculty and staff right in your own building
  • Discussion with your peers about real life issues
  • Being supported by your Mentor and your peers in your mentor group
  • Early registration for your residential college course
  • The opportunity to get off campus with peers and reflect on major life questions
  • Community Nights -late night snacks and catching up with others in your community
  • Connecting some of your coursework with your "life" work
  • Picking up some free stuff along the way

... and all while hopefully having your best year yet at Fairfield.

Q. What are the major components and time commitment involved?

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

  • Attending an orientation session at the beginning of each semester (much less than freshmen year for sure!)
  • Participating in your mentoring community, about an hour and a half per month gathering with 6-8 students and a mentor to talk about life (equivalent to dinner and a good conversation with friends)
  • Attending a retreat once per semester (a 24 hour overnight once per semester (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun), back in time for rest of weekend)
  • Taking a residential college course (no additional time, and not additional course, but one from your regular course load that has been redesigned to address the question of vocation)
  • Participate in service/direct-action projects or academic seminars as scheduled.

Those are the big commitments. You will undoubtedly be invited to a bunch of other fun and engaging events such as dinners (often times free and with great eats!) or talks, and other programs both on and off campus. You choose which ones of those you want to attend.

Q. Who can apply?

A. Any sophomore who is interested can apply. Residential Colleges are open to all sophomore students and can accommodate students with diverse hobbies, interests, majors including university athletics and schedules. They are intentionally designed this way so each community can benefit from the richness of the whole community. There is no GPA, no particular major or school requirements, and no required or preferred association with any program or activity on campus necessary for admission into any of these residential colleges. What is required is an openness to building community and exploring some of the overarching questions of the college.

Participation requires committing time and effort to the experience.

Each college is looking for sophomore students who bring a diversity of interests, habits, life experiences, political and spiritual views, and more. Participants are expected to be active and contributing members of their community, fully participating in the few required events, but also taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible that are offered through the residential college. Residents of each college set the tone of the community, take responsibility for the overall care of the building and each other, and build upon the solid foundation of each college by adding their own ideas, questions, programs and events.

Sophomores not wishing to participate will receive information about housing options, locations, and the lottery process from the Office of Residence Life during second semester of their freshmen year. There will be two separate housing lotteries for residential colleges and non-residential college students.

Q. How do I apply?

A. An application is required to be considered.

One common online application has been created to streamline the application process. Organizational review teams for each residential college review applications. Applicants can rank order one, two, or all residential colleges they wish to apply for, and can apply alone or with a friend. If you apply with a friend, you will remain together throughout the process.

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.