Dean Jill Dolan Welcomes Class of 2021

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Hello and welcome! My name is Jill Dolan, and I’m the Dean of the College here at Princeton University. The stellar staff in my office oversee everything about undergraduate academic life, as well as the residential colleges with which you’ll affiliate as soon as you arrive on campus. 

One of Princeton’s most distinctive characteristics, in fact, is its close-knit living and learning community. You’ll be assigned to one of our six residential colleges, which offer an array of academic and social programs that will enhance your campus experience. For example, during your freshman and sophomore years, before you declare a major, your academic advisor will be a professor affiliated with your residential college. They will have in-depth knowledge of Princeton’s curriculum and requirements. 

Whether your college is Butler or Wilson, Whitman or Forbes, Mathey or Rocky; you will benefit from the guidance of residential college advisers (or RCAs, as we call them), who are upper-class students. Graduate students also live in the college and help advise you through your studies. 

Your college plays a key role in shaping your Princeton experience — from the courses you take, to the major you select, to the extracurricular activities in which you participate. In your college, for example, you’ll explore intellectual and cultural activities. You’ll also enjoy leadership opportunities that might persuade you to run for student government; or to write for The Daily Princetonian, our student newspaper; or to perform in a student-run theater or dance company; or to sing with an a cappella group; or to participate in the huge variety of possibilities that make Princeton such an exciting place to live and to learn. 

Your residential college will quickly prove a valuable community where you can get to know other undergraduate students as well as graduate students and professors. We consider these communities places to discuss complex social issues in an intimate environment as well as to expand yourself intellectually and creatively. Your college will provide a useful jumping off point from which to explore Princeton’s many resources to help you succeed academically and to thrive socially. 

I suggest you check out the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as the Writing Center, both of which offer support for your academic work. Visit the Carl Fields Center for Race and Ethnicity, or the LGBTQ Center, or the Women*s Center, all of which offer intellectual programming and social groups. Visit the Frist Student Center, with its Café Vivian, its Bent Spoon Ice Cream, and its Small World Coffee, as well as its ping-pong and pool tables. Go to the Murray Dodge Café, which is run by the Office of Religious Life, for a casual place to work and to relax. 

I urge you to look around, ask questions, and introduce yourself to other students, to faculty, and to staff. Be sure to read the freshman academic guide we mailed to you and return to this website, Your Path to Princeton, often during the summer months, as we update information you’ll find useful as you plan your arrival on campus. I speak for all of my colleagues on the faculty and in the administration, as well as the students continuing here next fall, when I say how much we look forward to greeting you in September. In the meantime, welcome to Princeton!