GRF Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Graduate Resident Fellow (GRF)?

GRFs live in a West Campus House and support the House Professor-Dean, Assistant Dean, and House Fellows in creating a positive, vibrant and academically engaging residential community; serve as mentor and role model to undergraduate residents; and serve in a leadership role for academic enrichment by promoting a variety of programs and activities.

What does a day in the life of a GRF look like?

GRF responsibilities vary from day to day. Typically, GRFs will eat dinner in the House Dining Room with residents most evenings during the week and always on Wednesdays for House Dinner. GRFs plan and implement social and intellectual programs for residents; usually these occur in the evenings and on weekends. Also, GRFs rotate on-call responsibilities so that residents always have a staff person to call in case of urgent concerns after business hours. One of the priorities of the GRF position is to be present in the community and be available to residents and staff; this is a daily expectation. 

What does balance look like with my academic responsibilities and the GRF position?

Finding a balance to maintain your commitment to your education while contributing a great deal to the wellbeing of your residents, the intellectual community of the House, and being a valuable member of a staff team can be a challenge for some while for others it is more manageable. We believe you can succeed as a first-rate student while at the same time being an asset to the GRF team. Being part of a team means making sure you’re helping each other balance these responsibilities and hold each other accountable when group expectations are not being met. Planning ahead and keeping an organized calendar will help you maintain balance and alleviate stress. If you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

What is it like living in the West Campus House System?

The West Campus House System is home to upper class and transfer students; no first-year students live here. Most residents already have experience living on campus from their first year on North Campus at Cornell or from a previous institution. Occasionally there will be noise complaints, usually having to do with loud music or parties, but for the most part, our current and former GRFs have really enjoyed living with undergraduate students and many GRFs return for a second, third, or even fourth year of service.

If you choose to have a personal vehicle on campus, you will need to purchase a campus parking permit (  Typically GRFs choose WE or GS permits. Free parking on campus is in A Lot on North Campus, but you will still need to register your vehicle to receive an A permit.

GRFs receive a furnished one bedroom apartment. Partners are welcome. The apartment size probably could not comfortably accommodate more than 2 adults.

Pursuant to the Housing Contract, GRFs are not permitted pets (except fish) in their apartments.

What is the job description?

You can find the job description on the WCHS website:

What job requirements and important dates do I need to know about before applying?

  • The GRF employment contract begins August 1, 2023 and ends no later than July 31, 2024 renewable by the House Professor-Dean and Assistant Dean, based on successful performance, with required approval from the individual’s graduate program official. There is no obligation to renew this appointment; however, appointments that are not renewed will end on May 31st of their final year.
  • You must attend all staff training in August 2023, January 2024, and periodic in-services. August Training begins the week of August 7, 2023 and ends before the Houses open on August 14, 2023. You must attend all training sessions. The Houses open on Monday, August 14, 2023 and GRFs work House Office hours through Opening weekend. Classes begin Monday, August 14, 2023. 
  • GRFs must remain in residence through Sunday, December 17, 2023 until all students have vacated for Winter Break and all GRF administrative duties are complete. Inclement weather may delay the Fall Closing date. 
  • GRFs must be in residence prior to the re-opening of the House in January.
  • GRFs may be required to remain in residence during Fall, Thanksgiving, February and Spring Breaks depending upon the rotating GRF on-call schedule.
  • GRFs must observe all Terms and Conditions of the Housing Contract.
  • GRFs are provided with a furnished one bedroom apartment and must live-in. GRFs are also provided with a House Meal Plan and are expected to eat meals regularly in the dining room with students.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible to be a GRF if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are in good academic standing with your department.
  • You have been a matriculated student at Cornell for at least one full academic year.  Individuals who are registered in the Graduate School and are receiving Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, Graduate Assistantships and Graduate Research Assistantships are generally eligible for employment. However, each individual has different provisions attached to their financial support, so it is essential to clear your status with the Graduate School before submitting your application.
  • You can legally work in the U.S.
    • International students must insure that their employment complies with Homeland Security regulations and other relevant United States laws and must have approval from one of the Immigration Advisors in the Office of Global Learning: International Services.
  • You will be a matriculated student on the Ithaca campus for the entire duration of the 2023-2024 academic year.
  • You have secured permission from the Director of Graduate Studies and the special committee chair or your academic advisor.

What is the hiring timeline?

Applications are due Monday, February 13, 2023 at 11:59PM. Each House will decide who they will interview depending on the number of GRF positions available.  Interviews will be held in late-February or early-March. Successful candidates will be notified by mid-April.

Who are the current GRFs and can I contact them?

We encourage you to contact any of the current GRFs.  In our experience the best way to learn about the job is by talking with a GRF.  The current GRFs are listed on each House’s website in the “People” section.  You can access House websites through the WCHS site at