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Carolina Housing Blog

CH 101: An Introduction to Fall Housing Selection

October 4, 2023

By Sophia Raspanti

This week, I sat down with Jordan Cady, the Housing Assignments Manager of Carolina Housing, to learn about how the housing process works. As the Housing Assignments Manager, there aren’t many others that know this process as well as Jordan. For those who are looking to better understand the housing process coming up this fall, welcome to Carolina Housing 101.

What is Housing Selection and When Does it Happen?

Have you started taking classes at UNC? Would you like to live on campus next academic year? If so, you are eligible to take part in the Housing Selection Process. The Housing Selection Process for fall housing takes place in two stages: applying for housing and selecting a room. The priority application process begins on October 17 and closes on November 26.  Room selection takes place shortly after.

Priority Application Deadline: The deadline by which an application should be submitted to participate in the Room Selection Process that occurs in November for the following academic year (ex: Housing Selection for 2024-2025 takes place in November 2023)

Room Selection: Choosing your room for the *next* academic year by either:

  • Renewing your same room for next year, if eligible or
  • Self-selecting a new room after being assigned a timeslot.

While Fall Housing Selection is a major focus for students, Carolina Housing offers housing options for students wishing to continue study in the summer, study abroad accommodations, and winter break housing. While this article will focus mainly on Fall Housing Selection, you can use this link to learn more about applying to all other on-campus living options.

Why is the Housing Selection Process Started So Early?

“We have to move when the market moves.”

— Jordan Cady, Housing Assignments Manager

The Housing Selection Process occurs in October, which is only about two months after students begin classes. Our team at Carolina Housing promises you that we don’t start early just to torture you! In fact, in the past, Carolina Housing would begin the housing selection process for the upcoming academic year in the Spring, which caused students and parents to miss out on off-campus options.

The housing market of Chapel Hill tends to begin early after the school year begins, with landlords looking to fill leases by the end of the first semester. In the past, due to Carolina Housing’s application for on-campus residence occurring in the spring, students often missed out on both on-campus and off-campus living opportunities. Following suggestions and feedback, Carolina Housing now begins Fall Housing Selection for the upcoming academic year significantly earlier, which follows the off-campus housing market of the Town of Chapel Hill. Additionally, beginning the process of applying and selecting on-campus housing early allows for more time to make changes, which may benefit you and your roommate(s)!

How Do I Apply for On-Campus Housing?

The process to apply for on-campus housing is 2-fold: first you must submit an application for on-campus housing, and second you may select your room, if available. During the priority application timeframe, October 17 to November 26, go to the Housing Portal, which can be found at the top of the Carolina Housing website.

Once you are on the main page of the Housing Portal, you will see a multitude of options, including “Fix My Room”, “Fix My Tech”, and “Explore the Halls”. If you have questions about room and residence hall styles, Fix My Room is a great resource to view dimensions, photographs, and learn about what each hall has to offer. Once you are ready to fill out your housing application, log into the portal using your ONYEN. Select the menu option “Housing Application” and begin applying for the next academic year.

Make sure you fill out all sections of the housing application and submit your completed form by the priority deadline. If you are upperclassman or are living in a dorm that is not reserved for First-Years, Sophomores (Morrison), or Residential Learning Programs (RLPs), you will be given the option to renew your current room. If you love where you’re currently living, choosing to renew your room increases your chances for finding your ideal housing. However, you are only allowed to pick one option: renewing your room or entering the housing selection process, so make sure you think carefully about your preferred option. If you decide to go the route of room renewal, you will do so in the housing application itself, and do not need to proceed to step 2: selecting a room.

Room Renewal: Choosing to renew your same room for the next academic year, or being pulled into an open space in a unit that another student is renewing. This occurs during the priority room selection window before room selection timeslots start.

Room Selection Timeslot: Students who have applied by the priority deadline and who do not have housing are assigned a room selection timeslot, a specific date and time during which they have access to the housing portal to assign themselves, and a group if applicable, to available spaces.

If you decide to apply for a Residential Learning Program and have not yet received confirmation of acceptance, live in a residence hall designated for underclassman, or choose not to renew your current room, you will have to select your room following the priority housing application deadline. Following the closure of the priority housing deadline, you will receive an email from Carolina Housing with detailed instructions and a time slot in which you will have the ability to select a room. If you are part of a roommate group, each member of your group will receive a time, but only one person is required to select a room or suite. Therefore, the person in the group with the earliest time slot can select a place for you all to live, which may give you an advantage in finding your top pick.

Roommate Group: A group of students that consists of 2-8 students who wish to be assigned together. Only one student from a roommate group is required to assign housing for the entire group.

Preferred Roommate: In groups larger than 2, this is the student with whom you intend to share a bedroom.

Priority for time slots is determined by academic classification. Academic classification means that students will be split into groups of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but not given priority down to the specific credit hours they have completed. Seniors are given priority, followed by juniors and so forth, and within each academic classification, times are randomly assigned. Honors Carolina students do not receive priority, except for incoming first-year students, who are given priority to live in Cobb Residence Hall.

"The best thing you can do is to approach this with a flexible mind.”

— Jordan Cady, Housing Assignments Manager

As you go through the housing selection process, it is important to remain flexible. This is a live process, and there are no guarantees that your preference in room or building will be available during your time slot. We suggest creating a plan A, B, and C for places you and your roommate group would like to be assigned. To give yourself the best chances for assigning yourself a room, read the instructions in the email provided carefully and make sure to log into the system as soon as your time slot becomes available. Work quickly but carefully: once you have assigned yourself or your roommate group a space, you will not be able to change your selection. If you realize that you have made a mistake during your time slot, contact the Carolina Housing Office IMMEDIATELY and we will try our best to assist you. However, remember that if your ideal room is selected during that time, it will no longer be available for you or your roommate group. As the year continues, changes may occur that will allow you the opportunity to switch your location and room, but these changes are not guaranteed.

What are Residential Learning Programs (RLPs)?

Residential Learning Programs (LINK), or RLPs, are programs that group students with common interests and goals in the same residence hall. There are RLPs available for returning students, including the BLUE Residential Learning Program, Pride Place, and Transfers United. RLPs are available to interested students at no additional cost but may require an additional time commitment due to weekly group activities and meetings. Students can expect to spend 2-5 hours per week participating in RLP activities, depending on the week.

Residential Learning Program (RLP): A housing option that includes programing through Carolina Housing that give you a unique, inclusive learning experience that connects classroom learning with residential living. Students receive the added benefits of living amongst a group of students who share similar academic goals and/or interests.

BLUE Residential Learning Program

BLUE is an RLP dedicated to providing entrepreneurial minded students with opportunities for innovation, creativity, and collaboration. Located in Carmichael Residence Hall, the program provides students with a variety of programs including innovation labs, career planning services, community service opportunities, BeAM workshops, and much more. The year culminates in a pitch competition where students develop and pitch a prototype to Kenan Flagler MBA students and expert judges.

If you’d like to learn more about the program, check out this link and consider applying!

Pride Place

Located in Joyner Residence Hall, Pride Place is dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, promoting awareness, community development, identity exploration and empowerment, public service, advocacy, and celebrating diversity, multiculturism, and intersectionality. Pride Place holds community meetings that offer a variety of programs supporting students and the pillars of their foundation.

If you’d like to learn more about the program, check out this link and consider applying!

Transfers United

Transfer United is a community that aims to support incoming transfer students as they begin their studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Located within Carmichael Residence Hall, Transfers United helps students build a supportive community and build a successful career at Carolina.

If you are an incoming transfer student and would like to learn more about the program, check out this link and consider applying!

How Can I Increase My Chances of Getting My Ideal Room?

While obtaining your ideal location and choice can be difficult due to the live process of assignment, there are some things you can do to increase your chances!

  • Renew Your Room

If you are able, renewing your current room is a fail-safe way to ensure your ideal location and room assignment. If you love where you’re currently living, renew your room while completing your housing application by the priority deadline. In rare occasions, certain room renewals may not be available if your building will be taken offline for large-scale maintenance projects or if your room is needed for a staff member or administrative reason. However, if your room is not available for renewal, Carolina Housing will contact you with additional instructions to ensure you are allowed fair assignment to another location of your choice.

  • Apply by the Priority Deadline

One of the best things you and your roommates can do to increase your chances of obtaining on-campus housing is to apply by the priority deadline. The Housing Application will remain open throughout the year in case you decide to apply for on-campus housing later in the year, however the majority of students hoping to remain on campus will have applied by the priority deadline. Additionally, due to fluctuating student demands, you may not be guaranteed a place to live on campus. If you did not receive your ideal location during the priority application and selection, you have the option to put yourself and your roommate group on a waitlist in case your ideal spot becomes available.

  • Put Your Name in the Lottery

Carolina Housing will host multiple tabling events during the priority housing application period. At each of these events, you will have the opportunity to submit your name for a lottery pick. You may give your name one time for each tabling event, so if you attend all the events, you will have upwards of 7 different opportunities for your name to be drawn. Remember that if you are in a roommate group, only one person is required to assign the entire group a room, so remind your friends to submit their names to the lottery as well!

If your name is chosen in the housing lottery, you will receive the first pick of a housing assignment once the selection process opens, even before Senior students, so you will have the most options for assignment!

Lottery Opportunities

Tuesday, October 24th, 5pm - 7pm @ Lenoir Dining Hall

Monday, October 30th, 9:30am - 12:30pm @ The Pit

Tuesday, November 7th, 5pm - 7pm @ Chase Dining Hall

Friday, November 10th, 11am - 2pm @ Chase Dining Hall

Monday, November 13th, 10am - 1pm @ The Pit

Tuesday, November 14th, 11am - 2pm @ Chase Dining Hall

Friday, November 17th, 2pm - 5pm @ The Pit

  • Put Together a Roommate Group

Roommate groups can include a minimum of 2 students (double room, hall or suite style) and a maximum of 8 students (suite style). If you already know who you’d like to live with next year, make sure you and your future roommate register as a roommate group on the Carolina Housing application. Once you are a part of a roommate group, only one person is required to register the entire group to a room or suite. Because time slots are randomized within academic classification, this allows the person with the earliest time slot to register the entire group which can increase your chances of obtaining your top pick!

“What the guarantee of a roommate group does, is it allows you to select housing at the same time.”

— Jordan Cady, Housing Assignments Manager

  • Apply for an RLP or Class-Specific Residence Hall

If you are a student that is interested in living within an RLP, make sure to submit your application within the priority deadline. If you are accepted into your RLP of choice, you will automatically be assigned to the specific hall in which the RLP is housed. Additionally, Morrison Residence Hall is specifically reserved for sophomore students. Morrison offers traditional suite style units (4 rooms that accommodate 8 people) and super-suite options (3 rooms that accommodate 6 people with a living room). While you are not able to guarantee assignment to a super-suite, which are in relatively high demand, your chances of obtaining a suite-style room are much higher if you apply for housing in Morrison, as this Residence Hall is specifically reserved for sophomores.

Looking for more information or a quick refresher? Check out the Housing Selection 101 videos for additional tips and tricks!

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