About CHAS


About the College House System at Penn

College Houses & Academic Services (Est. 1998) 25 Years logo

Twenty-five years ago, in 1998, Penn decided to extend the successful faculty-in-residence model it had created at Van Pelt College House and Du Bois College House across all of its undergraduate residences. Today, every Penn undergrad lives for at least two years in a College House alongside Penn faculty, a CHAS House Director, and a team of Residential Advisors, all of whom provide support and educational programming that creates:

  • A sense of community and shared expectations
  • Opportunities to develop real-world skills and leadership
  • Space for personal development and self-discovery
  • Memorable experiences and events
  • Meaningful connections across the University

As a division of the Provost’s Office, our mission is to bring the academic life of the classroom into our living spaces.

We have roughly 6000 residents in total, primarily first and second-year students, though some students remain in our College Houses all four years. The architectural styles vary from 24-story modern high-rises with over 800 residents to smaller, 4-story brick Houses with 170 residents. 

Each House has a Faculty Director, one or more Faculty Fellows, a House Director, a House Coordinator, a large team of student Resident Advisors (RAs), student technology assistants, and many student managers in key positions.

Each House offers countless academic, cultural, and social events, personal services, leadership opportunities—too numerous to name. Every House is different in its focus and traditions, but all offer the same great amenities and avenues for self-discovery and enrichment.

Over 30 specialized “theme floors” called Program Communities exist to provide smaller, tight-knit communities within the Houses. 

In tandem with the Department of Residential Services, the College House experience offers the following advantages:

• Traditional Penn experience with other Penn students

• Penn faculty and staff as neighbors and mentors 

• In-House academic advising

• Credit courses and workshops in-House

• Free in-House tutoring in Chemistry, Economics and Math

• Supportive community when needed

• Lease flexibility for Study Abroad students

• House-based Research Fellowship and Music Fellowship opportunities

• Over 30 interest-based thematic Program Communities 

• No commitment to a 12-month lease

• Secure, ubiquitous Wi-Fi

• No utility, cable TV, or Internet bills

• No subletting necessary

• Location, location, location!

• Furniture provided

• Ability to change rooms, if desired, up to 3 times a year

• No security deposit required

• Reduced price tickets to a dozens of House-sponsored events

• Some in-House dining halls, cafes, convenience stores

• 24-hour staffed security trained to handle emergencies

• Convenient lockout services

• Information Centers offering personal assistance, vacuums, etc.

• State-of-the-art life safety systems

• Leadership opportunities in House governance

• Dinners and informal events every night of the week

• Personal support and advice from the RA team

• 400+ paid positions to gain pre-professional experience, assist the House