House Life

House Life

Life in the College Houses


College House residents do far more than eat, sleep, play, and study. They learn. Each House provides myriad occasions for residents to engage with the talented faculty, staff, and student leaders of the House who are their neighbors.

By living in a College House our residents have opportunities to lead and mentor their peers; improve their language skills; manage money and reconcile budgets; plan a research symposium; repair computers; write newsletters and market House events; teach others and interact with their communities both on and off campus.

For engaged residents, learning is an inseparable part of living in the House and interacting with the community. Though informal, the learning is an intentional outcome of our effort to fulfill the College House mission. Here are some of the ways we do it.

We connect the House communities to the intellectual life of the University

  • Students encounter a range of disciplines and backgrounds through the Faculty Director, House Fellows, and House Directors. To learn about their fields of study see College House Expertise.
  • Intriguing guests—scholars, authors, artists, business leaders, scientists, and political activists—routinely dine with residents.
  • The Houses provide group tickets for campus events such as an international dance troupe at the Annenberg Center or a renowned civic leader.
  • Professional musicians teach and give recitals through the College House Music Program; the College Houses also supports an undergraduate Music Fellowship each semester, allowing a resident musician to plan and stage a musical event in their House
  • Funded student research projects, guided by Faculty Fellows, bring students into the broader Penn research community
  • Academically-themed Program Communities in the Houses have links to such distinguished departments and centers such as the Fels Institute, Management & Technology, Film Studies, Civic House, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Weiss Tech House, and the Ben Franklin Scholars.

We create the intimate atmosphere of a liberal arts college within a large research university

  • Emphasis on community-building in each House helps create a home base that is markedly smaller than the campus with its 20,000+ student population.
  • Though College House faculty are often pre-eminent in their research fields, it is their love of teaching and engaging with undergraduates that draws them to live in residence.

We support our residents, academically and personally

  • Each House annually awards $1,500 for at least one student's winning research proposal.
  • House Directors and some faculty provide academic advising in-House.
  • The Tutoring Center has satellites in some Houses, where tutoring in Math, Econ, Chemistry, Biology, and other subjects.
  • We advise on graduate and professional schools, internships, careers, and fellowships.
  • Wireless and wired connectivity, plus in-House computing support, provide residents access to the many online resources Penn has to offer.
  • Group study spaces encourage students to learn together.

We foster leadership and accountability, but also civic-mindedness, teamwork, and opportunities to collaborate

  • Research fellowships and awards such as Gregory College House's Lucid Award and the Du Bois Endowed Scholarship are bestowed on residents with notable academic achievements, research promise, and community-mindedness.
  • Houses with a Board of Managers have a strong leadership team overseeing every aspect of the House, from oversight of cafés to the creation of science competitions.
  • House Councils or Steering Committees play different roles across the Houses' advising staff on the allocation of funds, the creation of programs, intramural activities, and more.
  • Resident Advisors, Research Peer Advisors, Information Technology Advisors, and other designated mentors within the Houses have opportunities to lead or guide their peers.