First-Year Check-In

Welcome to Columbia! We can't wait for you to begin your first year as a Columbia student. The information on this page will help you prepare for your arrival. 

Your Housing Assignment

You can expect an email from Columbia Housing with your housing assignment, roommate information (if applicable), and mailbox assignment during the summer.

If you don’t receive this email, or haven’t signed your Occupancy Agreement online, please email

Check-In on Sunday, August 29

Your assignment email also contains information about Check-In.

  • Each student is assigned a two-hour check in window between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 pm.
    • Please arrive during your assigned window.
  • Move-in should be completed by 4:00 p.m. in order to attend New Student Orientation Program (NSOP) activities.
  • New Student Orientation Program is mandatory for all new students.  

Tools & Resources

Here are some useful tools to help you make the necessary arrangements for your arrival on campus to ensure that your move-in experience is as stress-free as possible.

Click on a topic below:

Your Room

Your room is furnished with a bed, chair, chest of drawers, desk, bookshelves, closet or wardrobe, a wastebasket and recycling bins. Your windows are covered with miniblinds or shades. Bed heights are adjustable (to a maximum height of 33 inches) to allow for storage under the bed. Depending on your residence, the floors of your room may or may not be carpeted. In either case, you are welcome to bring your own floor covering. You will need to bring your own pillows, linens, and blankets. Your mattress is extra-long (80” x 36”), so it will require special extra-long sheets. Explore our Residence Hall Directory to learn more about your room and building.

Please note that you must keep all furnishings in your room, including bed frames and mattresses, and that you may not bring any additional furniture into your living space. Due to space limitations, we are unable to provide alternative storage for any furniture. Refrigerators are not provided in first-year residence halls. You may keep a refrigerator in your room, but it must meet certain outlined specifications. Columbia Housing facilitates refrigerator-microwave combination unit rentals for students through MicroFridge.

Refer to the Guide to Living for more information.


Laundry facilities are located in each residence hall and are accessible 24 hours a day. Laundry is free to undergraduate students living in the residence halls. Learn more.

The Guide to Living is a collection of policies and procedures created by Columbia Undergraduate Housing and Residential Life in collaboration with other campus partners, including Columbia HealthStudent Financial ServicesPublic Safety, and more.

Residential students should familiarize themselves with the content of the Guide to Living prior to moving into a Housing-owned or operated residence hall or brownstone.

Access to the Residence Halls

Shortly after your arrival, you will receive a University ID card with a photo. Housing residents are given access to all 18 undergraduate residence halls and SIC House via their Columbia University ID. You may have visitors and guests according to the guest policies found in the Guide to Living. You must sign your guests in with the security desk attendant, and they must leave a photo ID with the desk for the duration of their stay.

Download the Lion Safe App

Lion Safe allows easy access to all Public Safety resources at the touch of a button, including emergency services, maps, shuttle schedules, crime alerts, emergency protocols, campus safety notifications, and non-emergency numbers for each campus. Learn more about the app and click the appropriate button below from your mobile device to download.

Safety Outside the Halls

Morningside Heights is a safe neighborhood. Nevertheless, always be alert, especially at night or when traveling alone. If you feel unsafe at any time, call Public Safety at (212) 854-SAFE and an escort will be provided. Between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., an on-demand University shuttle serves the Morningside Heights and Manhattanville areas. See the Columbia Transportation website for information on the evening shuttle.

  • Pack your belongings for ease in handling. Use trunks, suitcases, and sealed cartons, which can be moved easily and quickly. Avoid bringing loose belongings.
  • Remember to bring with you, rather than ship, the items you’ll need during the first few weeks of school. Shipped items may not be immediately available.
  • Every box should have your full name and address clearly labeled and securely affixed to at least two sides on the outside of the box. Put your name and address on the inside of the box as well.
  • If your shipment consists of more than one box, number them “1 of 4,” “2 of 4,” “3 of 4,” etc.
  • Pack electronic equipment and other fragile items in the manufacturer’s original container and padding. If this is not possible, make certain to pack each item separately and protect all sides with at least two inches of protective padding.

Things to Bring / Things Not to Bring

Make sure to have a good plan for packing. Refer to our list of items to pack -- and definitely be sure to leave home any Prohibited Items.

Weather Conditions during Check-In

For those of you who are not from the northeastern United States, weather conditions in New York City tend to be hot in August. We recommend traveling with water and sunscreen and wearing clothing appropriate for warm temperatures. 

  • Do not ship any packages weighing more than 50 pounds or which have a combined length and girth of more than 130 inches.
  • Make certain to employ a reputable shipping agent, insure all your packages, and use a shipping method that provides package tracking. In the event that a package is not received on time, searching by tracking number is the only way to locate your shipments.
  • Remember, the insurance and shipment of your package(s) is an arrangement agreed upon by you and your shipping agent. Columbia University and its agents maintain no responsibility in these areas.

Arrival by Car

Street parking is available on Broadway and parts of Amsterdam with a range of rates and restrictions. However, it is extremely limited. Please check street signs for specific regulations. Parking tickets are the responsibility of the vehicle owner. No parking is available on the campus. Information on area parking garages can be found on the Transportation website.

Arrival in the City by Bus or Train

Using the Subway from a New York Bus/Train Hub

Guests arriving by bus or train can access the subway from both Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You can catch the 1 uptown subway line to the 116th Street/Columbia University station.

From Grand Central Terminal (E. 42nd St.), you can take the Shuttle (S subway train) to Times Square/Port Authority (W. 42nd St.), where you can board the 1 subway to 116th Street.

For subway schedule and fare information, please visit

Using a Taxi from a New York Bus/Train Hub

Taxis are also available and are a convenient means of travel when you are transporting luggage. The fare to Columbia is approximately $25 from Penn Station, the Port Authority, or Grand Central Terminal.

Arrival by Airplane

Depending on the airport you use, options for traveling to campus vary. For most airports a yellow cab or a ride service can be a simple way to travel to Columbia. At LaGuardia, city buses are a viable option, while at Newark and JFK there is AirTrain service that connects to the subways.


When arriving by airplane, an easy way to travel to campus is to take a yellow medallion taxicab or a ride service directly from the airport. We highly recommend that you use this method of transportation if you are relatively unfamiliar with New York City. Fare can vary depending on the arriving airport. Review the NYC Taxi Commission website for a sense of what you can expect to pay. You will also have to pay for tolls and tip.


Direct city bus service is available from LaGuardia Airport only. The M60 bus picks up passengers at each LaGuardia terminal every 20 minutes. It takes approximately one hour to reach campus, subject to traffic. The M60 stops on Broadway at West 116th Street. For schedule and fare information, please visit

Privately owned licensed shuttle buses from Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan are available for approximately $12-15. A bus will bring you to the Port Authority Terminal, where you can transfer to the subway or take a taxi to reach Columbia.


Subway service is available from Kennedy Airport, but the trip takes at least 90 minutes and is difficult with large luggage. Take the JFK AirTrain to the nearby subway station, where you can then take the A subway toward Manhattan. Transfer to the 1 uptown subway at the 59th Street/Columbus Circle station. For schedule and fare information, please visit

From Newark, EWR AirTrain service runs to several Manhattan locations where you can connect with a subway or bus. The most straightforward path is to take NJ Transit to New York-Penn Station, where you can transfer from NJ Transit to the MTA, for a small additional fare, to the 1 uptown subway line.

Check-In is Sunday, August 29. Additional information about Check-In procedures will be sent with the room assignment email. 

Students arriving after Check-In hours should notify Housing by email at Late Arrivals will be able to Check-In at the Hartley Hospitality Desk in Hartley Hall 24 hours a day.