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Frequently Asked Questions about the GA Program

What is a residential college?
All Yale undergraduates are randomly assigned to one of fourteen residential colleges. Most students live in their college and eat their meals there, and most consider their college to be their home at Yale. All colleges have the facilities of a typical dorm (laundry, exercise and activity rooms, snack bars, etc.) as well as a selection of specialized facilities (performance and exhibition spaces; pottery, woodworking, or art studios; print-making or digital media labs) that vary by college. Each college has a Head, who is in charge of residential and social life, and a Dean, who oversees the academic lives of the students. 

Who is eligible? 
Only graduate students in degree-seeking programs. Please note that only first-year students are eligible to apply in the fall draft. All continuing students must apply in spring.

I'm a student in a joint degree program, can I qualify for the fall draft if I just began one of my joint programs but already have been a graduate student the year before? 
G&P students in joint or combined degree grad programs (MBA/MA, MD/PHD, etc) are eligible for the Fall draft ONLY in the first or entering year at Yale. Combined Yale BA/MA students in their final year/first year of graduate study at Yale are eligible for the Fall draft (5-year BA-YSPH program, for example). Seniors at Yale, who plan to continue their studies at Yale at the graduate level as part of the 5-year program or a stand-alone Yale graduate degree program, must apply in the Fall draft when they actually attain the graduate student status.

Can I be an affiliate if I wasn’t a Yale undergraduate?
Of course. The residential colleges welcome all graduate and professional students to apply.

Can I specify the college(s) where I would like to be an affiliate?
Yes. The application asks you to rank colleges in order of preference. You may also indicate college you do not wish to apply for. If you choose to not rank any colleges, you will be considered by all colleges automatically. Be sure to do your research on participating colleges, read the information on this blog and visit colleges' own websites.

What are the benefits of being a graduate affiliate? 
The primary benefits of being an affiliate are getting to know the community in a residential college and becoming more involved in Yale’s undergraduate campus life. In order to facilitate this interaction, the program gives affiliates key card access to their college, allows them to use its facilities, invites them to eat two meals per week in its dining hall, and gives them opportunities to participate in its activities and trips.

Do affiliates live in the colleges?
No. Graduate affiliate positions are non-residential. Some of the colleges have, in addition to graduate affiliates, one or more resident graduate fellows who live in the college and contribute in some more involved way to college life. Those positions are not available through the applications on this website. If you are only interested in becoming resident graduate fellow, you should contact the relevant Head of College.

What are the responsibilities of a graduate affiliate? 
The responsibilities of affiliates vary among colleges, and even within each college. Most affiliates are expected to attend some meals and activities in the college. Many are asked to organize or coordinate college events. Some take on recurring jobs, like running a wood-working studio, coordinating a performance space, offering a yoga classes, or hosting a monthly cooking clinic.

All affiliates are expected to follow a few basic rules in their interactions with the undergraduate community. Affiliates are not allowed to date, drink with, or drive undergraduates in their college.

Who will read my application? 
Applications are distributed to the head graduate affiliates of the participating colleges. The head affiliates review the applications, and, often together with the Head of College, select affiliates they think are a good match for their college. At their discretion, head affiliates and college Masters may invite applicants for an interview before final selection.

What criteria are used to select graduate affiliates?
It's nearly impossible to list a set of criteria since the selections are made by different Heads and their local coordinators for a wide variety of reasons, which can change each year. Most colleges try to choose affiliates from across the disciplines. In addition, they may prefer affiliates who are interested in overseeing a facility or group in the college (pottery, darkroom, wood shop, poetry group, etc.), who propose interesting and novel activities, or who appeal for less defined reasons. Unfortunately, there are always fewer spots available than there are qualified applicants. Every year the colleges turn down dozens of talented people who would have made great affiliates.

I am already a graduate affiliate in a residential college and would like to continue next year. Do I need to fill out an application again? 
Yes. The graduate affiliates who wish to continue their participation must reapply in spring. Please fill out the application form and follow directions listed on the form.

How competitive is the application process?
The application process is very competitive. The program receives 200-250 applications during each draft for 30-50 spots (the number varies greatly based on colleges' needs). To be competitive, be sure to spend some time on your application, tailor your application to the needs of the college (you can get information about each GA program here on the blog as well as on the GA programs' individual webpages, located on the colleges' websites), and try to think of how YOU can contribute to the residential life of the college (innovative events, unique expertise, experience running various spaces and facilities).

Is this program the same as the Graduate Fellowship Affiliate program? 
No. That’s a separate program with a similar name. If you have been the recipient of a prestigious or competitive fellowship, you may be interested in becoming a Graduate Fellowship Affiliate.

I have another question. Whom should I contact? 
If you have a question about a particular college or its program, please contact the grad-affiliate coordinator of that college, or that college's Master's office. If you have questions about the program as a whole or the application process, please email the Graduate Affiliate