First Year Guide

First-Year Guide to First College

Greetings, First College students!

Welcome to the BEST residential college at Princeton! There are so many reasons why First College has all the other residential colleges beat. For instance, we have the best location on campus. Enjoy living so close to Frist and not too far from either Nassau Street or Wawa; between these three, you have so many round-the-clock eating options! Not to mention, First College is a super tight community.  The first few weeks are a great time to meet new people, so reach out and form those connections with your fellow First College students. These include not only your peers of all grade levels, but also all the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes for you, like the First College staff, Dining Hall staff, and Facilities staff. Reach out! Say hi! Get to know each other! First College Council is no exception to this friendly attitude; we don’t bite and we want to get to know you so that we can better serve you.

So what is the College Council, anyway? Basically, we’re a group of the brightest, most enthusiastic, and best-looking members of First College. We kid; we all just really love First College, and it is our privilege to provide you, our fellow First College students, with amazing opportunities. For example, we have frequent trips to see amazing Broadway shows (Wicked, Lion King, etc.) and basketball games in New York City. We also organize fun and stress-relieving intramural games with the other residential colleges, participating in all games from basketball to inner tube water polo. And, most importantly, we supply weekly study breaks, which you will all soon learn are the backbone of the Princeton experience. Study breaks are usually in the form of (free!!!) food, such as House of Cupcakes, Chipotle, bubble tea, or Jammin' Crepes, and always conveniently located in First Commons. Stay tuned for the first First College study break; we won’t disappoint! 

To make sure you get what you want out of First College, the College Council will be using your input to plan future events and giveaways so keep an eye out for suggestion boxes and polls.  Also, be on the lookout for College Council emails with important information concerning weekly college events, college trip ticket information, study break notifications, and of course, first-year giveaways. Though you may be tempted to send the College Council emails directly to your spam folder, DON’T! You don’t want to be left out of the awesome events we’ll have going on!

We hope you all are enjoying your summer and that you’re gearing up for an amazing year! If you have any questions, comments, funny quotes, etc., don’t hesitate to contact us via email! We look forward to seeing and meeting you all soon!  Welcome to the team, Class of 2024!

First College Council 

First-Year Guide to First College
What We Wished We'd Known During Our First Semester

1. Check These Sites Out for All the Info You Need - There are a few great sites that provide almost all the links that a Princeton undergraduate needs:

*   TigerApps - A lovely page that houses many cool applications to support your time on campus, from course planning to buying/selling items from fellow students! (

*  First College Website - This is where you can go to see announcements, events, and other important info about our awesome res college. (

* Project Welcome Mat - A for students, by students guide to all things Princeton. Although it was created to support first-gen students navigate the transition to Princeton, the information could be helpful to most students. (

2. Pack for All Kinds of Weather - Jersey weather is fickle. Bring an umbrella because it rains unexpectedly all the time. In addition to the umbrella, rain boots or rain jackets are nice additions to your closet. Sweaters are also nice to layer your outfits since a sunny day can be deceivingly cold. And lastly, make sure you have a warm winter jacket because it might not seem cold but walking around to classes, you will definitely appreciate having a warm jacket. 
3. Take Advantage of Late & Early Meal - Love late meal? Know what it is? You will soon enough. If you are on the unlimited meal plan, then Frist has a food gallery where you can eat to your heart’s content on weekdays from 2-3:30pm for lunch and 8:30-10pm for dinner (excluding Friday nights). The less-known “Early Meal” is available on Saturday mornings from 7:30-9:45 (If you are up that early, then go you). I hear the chocolate chip pancakes are legendary.
4. Try a New Study Space and Get Support - Check out the various libraries and study spots! Many of you will be tempted to stick with J Street because it’s so close, but everyone has his or her own favorite study spot, so explore and find your own! The McGraw Center (3rd floor of Frist) has study halls for some of the biggest courses on campus. If you're having trouble with a class, the McGraw tutors (who are often majors in the subject and have taken the class) can help you review course material, guide you through problem sets, and give you that extra boost of confidence. You may be accustomed to doing well on your own, but college (and Princeton, in particular) can be a completely different experience; don’t be afraid to ask for academic help!

5. Explore different Courses  -  Sooner or later, you will be choosing your courses and figuring out your schedule.  Don’t be afraid to explore something different whether it be a new topic in history, an intro philosophy course, or a dance course!  Let your intellectual curiosity take you for a ride--here at Princeton, the opportunities are boundless!

6.  Go to Office Hours - Office hours are your opportunity to get more out of your course and to get the extra help you may need straight from the source--your professors and preceptors!  This is your chance to discuss questions you came across during lecture, while working on problem sets, or planning an essay.  Princeton professors and preceptors are here to teach and to guide their students!  Don't be afraid to meet and talk to them!
7. Stop Studying and Go to Murray Dodge - Murray-Dodge Café (in the basement of Murray-Dodge is open from 3 pm - 6 pm, and 10 pm - 12:30 am. Princeton students (employed by the University) make free (yes, FREE) tea, cocoa, cookies and other fresh-baked goods every night.
8. Explore the Town of Princeton - It's a great place full of cute cafés, interesting shops, and historical landmarks. Check out Einstein's house on 112 Mercer Street or the Princeton Battlefield (occasionally they have reenactments of the war!). There's a wonderful map called "The Best of Princeton" by; several local stores carry it.
9. Get Involved on Campus - Whether you’ve been doing a particular extracurricular for years or if you just want to try something new, Princeton has dozens of organizations that are geared towards athletics (intramural, club, and varsity), the arts, service, religious life and more!  The time commitment and requirements will vary for each organization, but with so many options, there’s bound to be one that works for you.  It’s also a lot of fun to attend various events and support our Tigers!
10. Get to Know Your RCA - RCAs host their own study breaks and provide snacks for their zee group, but they are also there to deal with any questions or concerns you may have; do not be embarrassed to reach out to your RCA. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that as upperclass students, RCAs know more about certain aspects of Princeton than you, so if you have questions about a course or an extracurricular, for example, chances are that your RCA either has first-hand experience or can put you in touch with someone who does.
11. Get to Know the RGSs - Besides your RCAs and the Council, try to meet the RGSs in First College. Not only are they useful for a variety of exciting events and trips but they are also a source of knowledge and experience that is invaluable.