Housing for First-Year Students

Everything you need to know about life in Columbia Housing as a first-year resident.

About First-Year Housing

Incoming First-Year students have guaranteed housing for up to four years based on their guaranteed housing status (for additional information visit Room Assignments and Room Transfers within the Guide to Living) and their admission standing. Housing options are varied – singles or suites, halls or brownstones – and depend on class year and availability.

Residence in Columbia Housing begins in late August or early September and continues until mid-May, including all University holiday breaks.

First-Year Residential Options

All first-year students are housed in the Southfield section of campus, the heart of undergraduate life at Columbia. Proximity to Butler Library, Alfred Lerner Hall, John Jay Dining Hall, JJ's Place, and Columbia Health make these residence halls a convenient connection to the Columbia community.

Five different housing options are available to first-year students: Carman Hall, Furnald Hall, Hartley HallJohn Jay Hall, and Wallach Hall. Each hall has a unique set of features and benefits, from singles in corridor-style residences to shared doubles with an adjoining bathroom. Students should review each residence hall to learn more and help narrow down their preferences.

You'll be notified when it's time to fill out the Columbia Housing First-Year Application, which will allow you to indicate your preference for a particular hall, a single or double room, or a single-sex floor. The application will also allow you to request early access to your room via bag drop the day before Check-In. Confirmation will be shared with your room assignment.

Housing assignment notifications will be sent via email by July. Please note that only Furnald Hall offers single-sex accommodations. John Jay Hall, Carman, Hartley Hall and Wallach Hall do not have single-sex floors.

Special Accommodations

Special housing options are available for all students who wish to apply. First-year students are not eligible to live in Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) housing or Special Interest Community (SIC) Housing.

Disability Accommodations

Accommodations are provided for students whose disabilities substantially limit their ability to live in Columbia’s traditional housing arrangements.

Accommodations Related to Gender Expression or Identity

Columbia Housing is sensitive to the needs of students who are transitioning or have other reasons to desire alternative housing accommodations due to gender expression or identity-related needs. 

First-Year Residential Requirement

The residential experience is an essential component of a Columbia education. All First-year students are prohibited from living off-campus (this includes FSL housing) at any time during their first year at Columbia, unless they are commuting from the home of their parent(s) or guardian.

If there is an extenuating circumstance that warrants additional discussion, please contact Residential Life via email or by phone at 212-854-6805. If you plan to submit a request for consideration to commute, you should indicate this when prompted on your application in the Housing Portal. Additionally, commuter First-Year students who intend to move on-campus their sophomore year must register for Room Selection during Spring term of their first year in order to maintain eligibility and guaranteed housing status.