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First Year Students

First Year Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to UNC!

Now that you are headed to UNC, it's time to think about where you're going to live while you're here. Living on this vibrant campus immerses you completely in the Carolina experience. We at Carolina Housing work to create an inclusive on-campus housing environment that promotes personal development, citizenship, involvement, and leadership for the 8,500 students who live on campus.

The First Year Experience

Students who have earned less than thirty (30) hours of college credit after graduating high school and are enrolled in twelve (12) or more hours at UNC are required to live in campus student housing managed by the UNC Department of Housing and Residential Education. With that, Carolina Housing has created a program designed to excite and enrich first-year students. Our goal for the First Year Experience is to provide you with an academically and socially supportive environment. While living on campus, you will make new friends, immerse yourself in the UNC culture, establish valuable academic connections and identify unique leadership opportunities. Our residence halls are staffed with dedicated professional and student staff members that are here to support you as you transition to Carolina. You can learn more about the First-Year Experience below.

We know you may have many questions about what to do and where you are going to live. So, please read the Steps to Apply and the FAQs below to get up-to-speed on the housing process. Those will provide a complete overview of the housing application and selection process. If you still have questions, you can contact us at housing@unc.edu or 919-962-5401.

The Basics FAQ

It's OK to have questions! To help sort the ins and outs of living on campus, below are many of the most frequently asked questions from future residents. Logically, we start with the basics. 

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 in Carolina Housing or at Granville Towers. Note that contracts are not transferable between the two.

The only exceptions to this policy include:

  • Student is 21 years old prior to the opening day for the residence halls as specified in the Academic Calendar for the term for which the waiver is requested
  • Student is living with his/her spouse and/or children
  • Student is military veteran with at least two years of active service
  • The student has a medical hardship that would require him/her to make other living arrangements

Waiver of First-Year Campus Live-On Requirement (Download the Residency Requirement Waiver here)

A student applying for a waiver of the live-on requirement must meet the following conditions:

  • Fall under one or more of the exemption categories listed above.
  • Have an active housing application on file for the academic year in which the waiver is being sought, either with the Department of Housing and Residential Education or Granville Towers.
  • File a formal request for a residency waiver 
  • Provide requisite information and documentation in support of the request.

Questions regarding this requirement should be directed to the Housing and Residential Education Assignments Office. 919-962-5401 or housing@unc.edu.

Are There "First-Year" Residence Halls?

First-year students (who do not opt for a Residential Learning Program) will be assigned housing in one of the designated First Year Experience communities:

  • Craige
  • ​Ehringhaus
  • Hinton James
  • Manning East (Koury, Horton)
  • Olde Campus Lower Quad (Graham, Aycock, Lewis, Everett and Stacy)

Visit our Residence Halls page to learn more about each community.

Granville Towers is also a community where students may choose to live, and the First Year Experience will be on select halls in that location.

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.

How Much Will Housing Cost?

Visit our Rates page for updated costs. These 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.

Do I Have to Leave During Breaks?

Residence halls only close over the Winter and Summer Breaks. Visit the Break Housing page for more information on what to do if you want to stay on campus during these times.

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.

Steps to Apply

With the basics covered, now follow these steps to apply for on-campus housing at UNC!

Step 1: Collect the Necessary Application Materials

  • You may apply for housing starting February 2 if you have been admitted to UNC.
  • You must pay your enrollment deposit to the University before you can apply for campus housing. If you are having trouble accessing the application, this is the reason why.
  • You will need your ONYEN to access the housing application at the Housing Portal (myhousing.unc.edu).
    (ONYEN Services page)

Step 2: Decide Whether a Residential Learning Program is the Right Choice for You

  • Would you like to enrich your Carolina experience by living in a community with other students who share your interests and are eager to make new friends? Housing offers several Residential Learning Programs (RLPs) suitable for first-year students centered around topics as varied as sustainability, healthy lifestyles, language, cultural diversity, gender studies, and community service.
  • To submit an application to live in a Residential Learning Program, look for the "RLP/SIH" tab across the top of the page at the Housing Portal (myhousing.unc.edu).

Step 3: Submit Your Application by May 15

  • The Housing Application is available at the Housing Portal (myhousing.unc.edu). NOTE: If you have not yet paid your enrollment deposit, the application will not appear.
  • The application to live in a Residential Learning Program will be available to you on the Housing Portal after you successfully submit a regular housing application.
  • Housing is not first come, first served. All applications received before May 15 will be processed with equal priority.
  • There is no deposit required to apply for Housing.
  • The housing application becomes the Housing Contract upon submission, and cancellation policies are effective immediately.
  • If you are under the age of 18 at the time you submit the housing contract, you must complete the Parent/Guardian Signature Page. See the Housing Contract page for this document.
  • If you have chronic or severe medical condition that should influence your housing assignment, note that on the application, and follow the instructions on the Chronic or Severe Medical Condition Accommodations Request page for additional steps.
  • If you miss the May 15 deadline, you may still apply for housing, but your application will be processed after those who met the deadline.

Step 4: Get Your Housing Assignment (June-July)

  • Check online for your housing assignment and roommate(s) at the Housing Portal (myhousing.unc.edu).
  • You should receive a Move-in Guide prior to your move-in date that details the day and time you can check in. If you do not receive this brochure, it is available for download in Related Files sections at the bottom of this page.

Step 5: Move on Campus! (August)

  • Arrive on campus according to the date/time issued in the Move-in Guide. (Move-in dates/times are issued as a guideline to help spread out the move-in traffic as best possible. If you cannot make the time issued in your mailing, you will not need special permission to move in at another time.)
  • Check in at the Community Office that serves the residence hall where you have been assigned to pick up your key.
Housing Selection/Application 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.

I'm Thinking About Living at Granville Towers - What's the Difference?

Although Granville Towers is considered a partner to Carolina Housing, Granville Towers is managed by a private entity, and contracts are issued independently of Carolina Housing. It’s important to note that contracts are not transferable between Carolina Housing and Granville Towers. You can access the Granville Towers website at http://www.granvilletowers.com/.

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.

Can I Get a Single Room as a First-year Student?

Yes. Single rooms are very sparse on the UNC campus, so it is very difficult to get assigned to one. If you have a severe medical condition that requires you live alone, please submit a Chronic or Severe Medical Conditions Special Accommodation Request Form.

Can I Live in an On-campus 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.

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 cancelation penalty if you do not attend Carolina. Please go to the Housing Contract page and refer to the "New Students: Cancellation Policies" section for more details.

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 Housing Portal (myhousing.unc.edu) to search through potential roommates based on their living and study habits and exchange email communication through the portal.

First Year Experience/Other Questions

What Exactly Is The First Year Experience?

The First Year Experience, also known as FYE, at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is a campus-wide, collaborative effort which provides first-year students with the resources and support they need to successfully transition to the University. Our goal is to provide all first-year students with a socially supportive environment which will enable them to meet new people, immerse themselves in the UNC culture and establish valuable academic connections. The Department of Housing and Residential Education has partnered with campus offices and academic departments to create a rich and comprehensive FYE program.

Do I Have To Sign Up For FYE?

There is no sign-up necessary; first-year students are automatically part of FYE and can choose to participate in as many events and activities as they would like!

What Are Some FYE Events?

FYE programs and events vary slightly from year to year. You'll learn more about each event when you move on campus during the Week of Welcome. Here is a list of some of our signature programs, grouped by subject matter:

Transitions: These programs help students connect to campus, get to know their communities, and prepare for the next step.

  • First Floor Meetings
  • Week of Welcome
  • Roommate and Suitemate Agreements
  • FYE Intramurals

Diversity and Social Justice: Students can expect opportunities to learn more about social justice and engaging with a diverse population on-campus.

  • The FYE Social Justice Experience, including trips like the one to Trinidad in Fall 2016!
  • International Student and First-Year Student Roommate Matching
  • The FYE Black & Blue Tour
  • Documentary Screenings

Social and Academic: FYE provides opportunities to connect with other students and academic resources to truly feel like a part of this community and to feel supported in the college transition.

  • First-Year Fridays
  • Monthly International Student Meet & Greets
  • Monthly Minority Males Meet & Greets
  • Advising In the Halls
  • Food Truck Rodeo
  • Coffee and Conversations with Campus Resources
  • The Career Buzz Fair
  • Kickin' It with Campus Rec
  • The LDOC Heelfest

Educational: There are opportunities provided to gain the knowledge to stay safe and be well as you explore your first-year.

  • Safetoberfest
  • Coffee with a Cop
  • De-stress with the Deans & Dogs
  • The Dietitian Is In

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. You can also use the Room Reassignment Portal at the Housing Reassignment Request page.

Can You Accommodate My Asthma/Allergies?

Yes. You will need to complete a Chronic or Severe Medical Conditions Special Accommodations Request Form when you fill out your Housing Application.

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.