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Carolina Housing

Carolina Housing Blog

Welcome to Carolina: A Guide to First-Year Housing

February 1, 2024

By Sophia Raspanti and Jordan Cady

Dear Class of 2028,

Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are so excited to welcome you into our beloved Tar Heel family. Brimming with rich traditions, unique cultures, and even a few legends, generations of Tar Heels have called Carolina’s campus home. Now, it’s your turn to live amongst our hallowed halls and experience a college right-of-passage: on-campus life.

Let’s get started!

Do I Have to Live on Campus?

We require all students who have earned less than 30 hours of college credit after graduating high school to live on campus as First Year Students. Living on campus confers many educational and academic benefits, as well as helping to foster a sense of community. Our goal for your first year on campus is to create an academically and socially supportive environment where you can build a strong foundation as a UNC student. During your first year, you will make many new friends, immerse yourself in UNC culture, identify unique leadership opportunities, and more. With over 8,500 students living amongst the residence halls, you’ll be part of a bustling, exciting, and exceptional community.

What’s the First Year Experience?

Designed for incoming students, the First Year Experience (FYE) is a program designed to help foster connections, growth, and learning of each resident. These opportunities include floor and community programs, personal check-ins with your resident advisor, roommate/suitemate agreements, and much more! In fact, we host over 2,000 programs a year: there’s something for everyone!

Want to learn more about the First Year Experience? We’ll be mailing you a booklet in the next few weeks!

Community Director (CD): Professional staff member that oversees a residence hall. Community Directors supervise a team of Resident Advisors.

Resident Advisor (RA): A student staff member that oversees a group of room within a residential community.

I’m Ready to Apply for Housing. What Do I do First?

You may apply for housing beginning Friday, February 2nd, 2024. To access the application, you’ll need to have paid your enrollment deposit (or deferred the deposit if you are receiving financial aid).

Note: It typically takes up to 3 days after you make the enrollment payment for you to be added to the system, therefore allowing you to apply for housing. Please be patient. If you still do not have access to log in after 3-4 business days, contact us at

If you haven’t paid your enrollment fee before February 2nd, or don’t yet have access to the system, don’t worry! Housing is NOT first come, first served. All applications received before May 15th, 2024, will be processed with equal priority. You may also edit your submitted application up until this date as well.

The Application Process: Step-By-Step

We know the first time you apply for on-campus housing can be confusing and difficult. That’s why we’ve included this step-by-step guide (with pictures!).

Step 1: Access the Housing Portal

The first step in applying is to access MyHousingPortal, found at the top menu bar of the Carolina Housing website. You will need your ONYEN to access the application.

ONYEN: Otherwise known as the "Only Name You'll Ever Need", your username for pretty much everything during your time at Carolina.

Click on “UNC Students Log in Here” and sign in using your ONYEN and password.

Explore The Halls

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, Explore the Halls 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.

Step 2: Select Term and Begin Application

Once you have logged into the housing portal, you will see a menu option that says “Housing Application”. Once you click this link, you will be brought to a page with the upcoming academic year for 2024-2025.

Begin going through the application, filling out all necessary information. Make sure to read all sections carefully, as there is important information about the application and contract requirements and responsibilities.

Step 3: Create Your Personal Profile

Wondering how to find a roommate? The Housing Application has tools to help you search and find a roommate for your first year on campus.

Once you arrive at the page marked "Personal Profile", add your preferred name to the "Public Screen Name" section, and add a short profile that will be visible to other students. Consider using key terms that are easy to search that represent your living style, interests, and hobbies.

Step 4: Create a Roommate Group

In this section you have the opportunity to designate a roommate and create a roommate group for your future room or suite.

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.

We encourage you to use the WhatsApp First-Year Roommate Finder (accessible through the link in the housing application) to find a roommate or suitemates if you do not already have one in mind. Once you have decided on a roommate or suitemates for your future living space, one person will need to "Create the Group".

The person who creates the group will be named as the "Group Leader", which does not carry any significance other than that is the creator of the group name and password. The Group Leader will need to share the Group Name and Password with the rest of the members looking to join.

To join a group, you must click on the link "Join Group" and enter the Group Name and Group Password exactly as given. Please note: both the group name and password are case sensitive.

Join Group: If you already know of an existing group, you can join this group using the group name and password. Both are case sensitive.

Once a group of students (2-8) agree to live together, one person should create the group within the application. They can then provide the group name and password to all desired members to join the group.

Please take note that there are many search tools available to you for finding a roommate or roommate group. We will go through each of these below:

Search For a Roommate Group

Use this page to search for a roommate group by name, size, or member.

Search for Roommate by Details

You can search for potential roommate by using the “Description” and “age” fields. We recommend searching using only one field at a time, such as Description. The Description field is looking for key words that a student might have used in their Personal Profile earlier in the application. Once entries pop up, you can send that student a message, view their profile or add them to your group.

Search for Roommate by Profiles

If there is a specific living style preference that is most important to you, try using one of the profile questions to look at potential roommates. For best filtering results, only search using one profile question at a time.

Once members are added to a group, they will be visible on the Roommate Groups page.

Step 5: Designate a Preferred Roommate

This section describes where you can type in a student's name and PID and is ONLY USED in groups of 3 or more. It will tell Carolina Housing which roommates want to share a bedroom specifically. If this does not apply to your group, you may skip this step and proceed to Step 6.

Step 6: Designate Room Preferences

In this step, you will list your preferences as to which Residence Hall you'd prefer to live in on your first year on campus. To explore your options, we recommend returning to Step 1 and checking out "Explore The Halls" to learn more about the different offerings Carolina Housing provides to first-year students.

If you are an honors student and are looking to live in an Honors Residence Hall, you should list Cobb Residence Hall as your first housing preference. If you are a non-honors student, you may still list Cobb Hall as well, but the priority will be given to honors students.

You are required to select a minimum of 5 building preferences, but we recommend listing as many as 10. Please note that listing building/room types DOES NOT GUARENTEE you any particular building or room type. However, we will do our best to match you and your roommate/roommate group in your preferred housing.

Step 7: Sign the Contract and Submit Your Application

Congratulations! You've completed your first-year housing application. To finalize and submit your application, agree to the Housing Contract and Community Living Standards and Cancellation Policy and submit your contract!

Once you've completed your application, you can return to the home page or you can explore Carolina Housing's Residential Learning Programs (RLPs). Continue reading to learn more.

Residential Learning Programs (RLPs)

Residential Learning Programs, or RLPs, are programs that group students with common interests and goals in the same residence hall. There are many RLPs open to first-year students, including BLUE, Pride Place, First Gens, Outdoor Pursuits, and more. 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!

Outdoor Pursuits

Located in Eringhaus Residential Community, Outdoor Pursuits is a partnership between Carolina Adventures and Carolina Housing that seeks to foster opportunities to collaborate with others and foster a greater connection with ourselves, each other, and the world around us. From high-impact adventures to low-key events, this RLP focuses on bringing students together through health and well-being related activities throughout the year.

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

First Gens

Located in Hinton James Residential Community, this RLP focuses on bringing together and supporting self-identified first-generation college students. This program provides co-curricular activities, learning spaces, and opportunities to build relationships to supplement and enhance your Carolina experience.

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

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