First Year Students: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How are assignments made for first-year students?

  • All of the applications that are received by May 15 are assigned a random lottery number. The lottery number determines the order in which the system will process the 3,000+ applications on file. To make your housing assignment, the system identifies your preferences and seeks vacant rooms starting with your first choice and progressing down the list. If nothing is available in any of the locations you preferenced, a random housing assignment is made.

Will I get a better assignment if I submit my application early?

  • No. Because applications are randomly ordered before assignments are made, all students who submit an application by May 15 will receive equal chance of getting assigned to one of their preferences. 

Is there a deposit required to apply for housing?

  • No. There is no deposit required to apply for housing.  However, if you apply and then cancel you will be responsible for a minimum $200 cancellation penalty.

Do I have to live on campus?

  • Yes. Per the UNC Live-On Requirement, if you are a traditional first-year student who has never lived on a college campus, you are required to live on campus (UNC Department of Housing and Residential Education) or at Granville Towers. Note that contracts are not transferable between the two.

Can first-year students join Residential Learning Programs?

  • Yes! First-year students are encouraged to take advantage of the unique opportunities Residential Learning Programs afford. You’ll have the same experience as a traditional resident who lives in campus housing, with the added benefit of living near other like-minded students who share common interests and are committed to getting involved at Carolina. There is no additional cost to join a Residential Learning Program.

Are there “first-year” halls?

  • First-year students (who do not opt for a Residential Learning Program) will usually be assigned housing in one of the designated First Year Experience residence halls: AycockCraige, Ehringhaus, Everett, GrahamHinton James, Horton, Koury, Lewis and Stacy. First-year students may also chhose to live in Granville Towers. A limited number of first-year students will be allowed to live in other University housing as deemed appropriate at the discretion of the Director of Housing and Residential Education with approval of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

I’m thinking about living at Granville – what’s the difference?

  • Although Granville Towers is considered a partner to UNC Housing, Granville Towers is managed by a private entity, and contracts are issued independently of the Department of Housing & Residential Education. It’s important to note that contracts are not transferable between UNC Housing and Granville Towers.

What’s the best residence hall? (Take this short quiz for help!)

  • Personal preferences like room size, community size, suite-style vs. hall-style, and location are common things to consider when selecting community preferences. But most often, we hear students enjoy their living experience as a result of the people in the community more than the building.

Can I request a roommate?

  • Sure! You may request a roommate when you apply online for housing. It is important that both students list each other on their applications.

What if I don’t have a roommate?

  • If you don’t have a roommate in mind, don’t worry! We will place you with another first-year student who is also going “potluck” – it’s quite common.
  • You can also use roommate searching tool within the portal to search through potential roommates based on their living and study habits and exchange email communication through the portal.

Am I signing a contract by submitting an application?

  • Yes. By clicking “Submit” on the housing application, you are agreeing to the Housing Contract which is a contract for the entire academic year.

When will we find out our housing assignment (and how)?

  • Typically first-year students who met the May 15 priority date will receive their assignment confirmation in early June.  Confirmation is initially sent by email. You can also view your assignment online at

What if my roommate and I have differences we can’t work out -- can I change rooms?

  • Sure. Beginning after the second week of fall semester and continuing throughout the academic year, students can request a move through their community office.

Do I have to leave during breaks?

  • Residence halls only close for Winter Break and Summer Break. For Winter Break, Carolina Housing does offer temporary break housing in Craige Hall. 

How much will housing cost?

  • Rates include all utilities: standard cable (with select channels in HD), wireless high-speed internet, water/sewer/trash and electric. All rooms are air-conditioned.

How will I be billed for housing?

  • For students who applied by May 15, your student account will be billed in July.  Payments are made through the Cashiers office and not directly to Housing.

What happens if I cancel my housing application? 

  • First-year students who cancel after submitting an application are charged a $200 penalty up until opening or taking possession of the room key, whichever occurs first. After opening or receipt of room key, the cancellation penalty is 50% of the contract. We do not charge a cancellation penalty if you do not attend Carolina. Read more about cancellation policies.

Can you accommodate my asthma/allergies?

Can I get a single room as a first-year student?

  • Yes. Single rooms are very sparse on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, so they it is very difficult to get assigned to one. If you have a severe medical condition that requires you live alone, please visit our Chronic or Severe Medical Conditions Special Accommodation Request page for more information on how to submit your Self-Identification Form.

Could I live in an apartment my first year?

  • No. Apartment communities are not available to first-year students. This option will be available beginning your sophomore year.

Why didn't I get assigned to one of the communities I preferenced on my Housing Application?

  • The preferences you list on your Housing Application are guidelines that our automated program looks at while making your room assignment. As our system processes the applications in lottery-number order, we can't guarantee you'll be assigned to any of your preferences if space is not available at the time your application is processed.

When and how does move-in work?

  • South campus residents arrive either Friday or Saturday of opening weekend, according to their room number. Arrival times are staggered by last name. All north campus residents can move in on Saturday of opening weekend. Students attending the last Orientation session can arrive at 7 a.m. on their first day of orientation.

Can I bring a loft?

  • No. Housing provides all of the necessary materials to bunk or loft your beds. Self-built lofts are not allowed.

When can I apply to be an RA?

  • Students can become an RA (Resident Advisor) as soon as they reach sophomore standing.  The RA application process begins during fall semester for the following academic year.