Incoming First Years

Students playing cards.

Live in residence, 100% guaranteed 

Living in residences means becoming part of a great community with support to help make your transition to University life as smooth as possible. You have the choice of living in one of Campus Housing’s 5 first-year residences, or at one of Waterloo’s University Colleges. 

Residence is guaranteed for all students starting their first year at the University of Waterloo, including transfer students. What do you need to do? 

Beginning Monday, February 1, 2021, the Residence Community Ranking Form will be available to all students starting their first year to complete and submit with their $500 non-refundable housing deposit*. We recommend incoming students only submit the form and non-refundable deposit if they have accepted their offer to the University of Waterloo.   

The Residence Community Ranking Form will remain open until Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. All incoming students starting their first year who submit their Residence Community Ranking Form and $500 non-refundable deposit* by the June 1 deadline will be a part of the 100% Residence Guarantee. 

*Please note:  We are offering students as much flexibility as possible while making decisions about Fall 2021 residence. Although the deposit is typically non-refundable, refunds are available for pandemic reasons.  Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents will have the opportunity to cancel their applications and receive their deposit back between June 2 and 7. While study permit students must cancel before arriving on campus in September.

Printable checklist


Incoming first year checklist.

Download our printable checklist to stay on top of key dates, then apply below. (Checklist updated March 2021)


Steps to Living in Residence

How are Rooms Assigned 

Everyone belongs in residence. We believe there is a place for you in residence and our room assignments reflect this inclusive approach. Our application form asks about your preferred room type, academic interests, meal arrangements, roommates as well as any special accommodations, and we take them into consideration when assigning you a room. We also recognize that you will grow and change as you experience the independence of being a first year, so we ask a few questions about your personality, daily habits, and hobbies. This lets us match you with a fitting roommate, while leaving lots of room for conversation and growth as you meet with and learn from other students whose backgrounds may be different from yours.  

Regardless of where you are assigned, there are several opportunities to connect with other students and staff for support. Each residence has its own unique community with programming developed by professional and caring staff to make your experience in residence amazing! 

Accessibility needs 

Some students require a specific room-type or residence type to meet their needs. Students that may require accommodations for documented medical reasons must go through the Accessible Housing process. Priority is given to students that submit documentation by the June 1 deadline. Please visit the Accessible Housing website for additional information.

Academic stream 

Campus Housing considers your academic stream to determine where to place you. Fall/winter (8-stream) and fall/spring (4-stream) students are assigned to different residences on campus since not all our residences are open for the spring term.  

  • Fall/winter (8-stream) students may be assigned to any of our residences. Fall/spring (4-stream) students may be assigned to any of our residences for the fall term and receive an alternative assignment in UW Place (including Claudette Millar Hall) for the spring term.   

  • Roommates must be in the same stream (either fall/winter or fall/spring) to be assigned together. We are not able to assign students that are in different streams as roommates. 

Living-Learning Communities and Academic Clusters

Students who select a Campus Housing Living-Learning Community or Academic Cluster within Campus Housing will live near other students from the same program or faculty in clusters within the general residence community. Living Learning Communities and Clusters may be located across multiple buildings. Students who choose an Academic Community will be able to rank all available residence communities, room types, and meal plan preferences.

Students who select a University College Living Learning Community will be placed in the college where the community is based, however, depending on demand, you may be placed in another residence community. 

Residence ranking 

Unless you selected a Living-Learning Community with one predetermined residence, you can rank your preference of residence and room type

If you submitted a roommate request, make sure your top preferences for residence and room  type match your roommate request i.e. do not request a roommate and select a single room in a traditional-style residence as your top preference. If you request a roommate but still wish to have your own room, you and your roommate can choose interconnecting singles or suite-style residence options. 

You must rank all available residence options, even if your roommate request makes you ineligible in certain residences. Note: Students that request a roommate are not allocated into single traditional-style rooms (except interconnecting single rooms). 

Roommate Request 

As a student in Campus Housing, you can request to be placed with one roommate in any of our residence communities. This request must be mutual to be considered, that is, your roommate must also request to be placed with you, and your top residence preferences must match. Students that request a roommate are not allocated into single traditional-style rooms (except interconnecting single rooms). 

Whether you apply as an individual student or roommate pair, you have an equal chance of being assigned in any of your top preferences! We ask questions about your personal preferences to help us match you with potential room/suitemates.  

Space availability 

Each residence has a predetermined number of rooms/suites for incoming first-year students. If your preferred residence or room type is not available, you could be assigned to any of our residences or room types. It is important that you are comfortable living in any of our residences.

Frequently Asked Questions 

We understand that there are many questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the fall 2021 residence experience. While we are still planning for fall 2021, read the FAQs below to find out more about how we adapted the residence experience in fall 2020 to keep students safe and engaged. We will continue to update our website with the latest changes to Campus Housing, so check back regularly to stay informed.