How it Works

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Room Selection for AY 2021/22

The Room Selection process is proceeding as if we will be reunited on campus for the fall semester. However, on-campus housing decisions are subject to state, city, and University guidance and may change as public health recommendations evolve.


Room Selection in 6 Easy Steps

Room Selection is an annual process during which current undergraduate students select on-campus housing for the following academic year. Students choose from a variety of housing arrangements that include living with a group in doubles or suites, or living in a single in a corridor-style room.

Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the options and selection steps.

photo of students checking in with Housing.
What About First-Year Students?

First-Year students do not participate in Room Selection, but are instead assigned to one of our First-Year residence halls.

Step 1
Where Do You Want to Live

Explore our buildings. Think about what living situation makes most sense for you and who you might want to live with next year. Learn more about Special Living Communities. Attend info sessions and building tours. 

Step 2
Understand Eligibility and Special Populations

Understand eligibility for Room Selection and special considerations for Rising Sophomores, study abroad, leave, students registered with Disability Services, or living with Barnard students. 

Step 3
Mark Your Calendar

Note important dates and deadlines. Missing a critical step in the process could impact your ability to secure on-campus housing.

Step 4
Pick a Group Leader

If you plan to form a group, decide on a Group Leader. Have an open and detailed conversation as a group about where you do and don’t want to live. During selection, the Group Leader will have the responsibility to make a choice on behalf of the whole group. 

Step 5
Register for Room Selection

Register for Room Selection. All Columbia students must register, even if they intend to live elsewhere next year. Registration lets us know your intended plan and is important in maintaining guaranteed housing status. 

Step 6
Get a Room!

Time to select your room! After registration closes, individual students or groups will receive a lottery number and appointment time. During your appointment time, students can pick from available options. After you select your room, be sure to sign the Occupancy Agreement. Your assignment is not finalized until you and all members of your group have submitted the Agreement through the Housing Portal


Room Selection: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to the questions we have most frequently received from students regarding Room Selection this year. Please note that the FAQs are divided into two tabs: one with questions relevant to all students, and the other with information to help our rising sophomores as they participate in Room Selection for the first time.

If you have additional questions, please email us at

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Sophomore Waitlist

  • Columbia offers guaranteed housing for all four years of a students’ Columbia career. Housing is assigned through a lottery to ensure we can continue to accommodate the housing needs of the entire undergraduate residential population in an equitable way. For sophomores, particularly those who draw higher lottery numbers, this process requires additional time managing inventory and finalizing assignments. 
  • Students on the waitlist are still guaranteed housing.  

The pandemic has presented many challenges that have affected all undergraduate residential students. Ultimately the Room Selection process did not change in order to the protect the equity of the lottery system and minimize impact to students across all classes.    

Room Selection ends this Thursday, April 15, and Summer Term Check-In ends Sunday, May 2. After this process is complete, the Housing team will be able to evaluate the inventory and will provide an update to sophomores on the waitlist by the end of May. 

  • Inventory in the residence halls fluctuates depending on class sizes and registrations for Housing. This means that some rising sophomores, especially those with higher lottery numbers, may not be able to immediately choose a room during Room Selection.

  • In the event that all available spaces are chosen before a student’s appointment time, they need to register for the sophomore waitlist through the Housing Portal no later than the final day of Room Selection.  

  • Students on the sophomore waitlist have guaranteed housing status. The Housing team will provide an update by the end of May and students will be assigned a room as soon as possible.

  • Students who do not complete the sophomore waitlist application will lose guaranteed housing and will have to reapply to be considered for assignment.  

  • Columbia Housing makes every effort to assign students according to their class standing in buildings where that class makes up all or the majority of the resident population. However, upperclass buildings often include students from other class standings, so it is possible that sophomores will be assigned to buildings that also include students from other classes. 

  • Each residence hall has a Resident Adviser (RA) who will facilitate community-building and other opportunities for students to get to know their floormates. 

Although not all residence halls are adjacent to South Field like the first-year buildings, they are part of the University’s greater campus which extends from West 110th Street to West 125th Street. These buildings are owned and operated by Columbia Housing and are serviced by Public Safety and the Columbia Transportation shuttle system, including the on-demand evening shuttle.

  • Assignments will be made with consideration for your original Room Selection group. If students cannot be assigned in the same space, the Housing team will try to assign on the same floor or the same building.  

  • If students are not assigned together, in the Fall students can negotiate with fellow residents to arrange a room swap.  

For All Students

The Room Selection process is proceeding as if we will be reunited on campus for the fall. However, on-campus housing decisions are subject to state, city, and University guidance and may change as public health recommendations evolve. If the University has to adjust on-campus housing plans, we will assess the timeline and fee structure associated with cancellation. Please continue to monitor your email for important University communications.

No. The Room Selection process is proceeding as if we will be reunited on campus for the fall semester. However, on-campus housing decisions are subject to state, city, and University guidance and may change as public health recommendations evolve.

Visit the Explore Residences page of the Columbia Housing website. It shows a map of where each residence hall is located, and provides detailed information about each, including available amenities, rooming style, which students generally live in the building, a photo gallery and more.

Reach out to the Disability Services team who can answer your questions and provide assistance.

Yes. A student who is selecting as an individual and has a high lottery number may find that there are no singles remaining at their appointment time. In that case, they will need to select a bed in a double room where they may not know their roommate.

LLC has been cancelled for the upcoming academic year. However, Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) and Special Interest Communities (SIC) are still planned. Information about housing for both is available on the Residence Life website:

Yes. As in the past, we will allow a certain number of Barnard and Columbia seniors to select into residence halls on the other campus for this coming fall. Keep in mind that once we reach the maximum number for the exchange, anyone that has not chosen a room will have to return to their own school to choose a room.  Columbia students will receive a lottery number and appointment time when they return.


Room Selection Videos

Check out our collection of videos designed to help you learn more about our residence halls and the Room Selection process so that you can successfully choose a room for the Fall Term as part of a group or as an individual. Many of the videos feature your fellow students providing their personal tips and recommendations, including our featured video, "How Room Selection Works" which was created in collaboration with the Residence Hall Leadership Organization (RHLO).