Information for

Common residence questions

Is residence guaranteed?

It is for first-year and transfer students if you meet the guarantee conditions.

Am I required to live in residence?

No, you don't need to live in residence. Our Off-Campus Housing Office can help you find a room or apartment in the community. Or if you have family in the area, you can live with them.

How does the selection process work for residence? Will I get my first choice?

After you receive an offer of admission, you'll request which of the residences you would prefer. Details about the residence application process are available on the Housing website.

Are the floors co-ed?

Some floors are co-ed, many are not. It varies from residence to residence.

Who cleans the rooms?

Housekeeping of all common areas, e.g., lounges, is provided in all residences. Students are expected to maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness in their rooms and in the common areas of residence.

Are residences split according to faculties or programs?

No. If you live in residence, you'll have the opportunity to meet students from many Waterloo programs. However, in our Living-Learning Communities, you can choose to live with students in your faculty/program and benefit from special enrichment opportunities. You'll still be part of a larger residence with students from across campus.

How safe are the residences?

Staff in the Department of Housing and Residences take the safety of students living in residence very seriously. All facilities have been designed for safety and security. Buildings, houses, and floors are locked and students must have a key to get in. Learn more about safety in residence.

How are the University Colleges related to the residence experience?

The 4 University Colleges are smaller, closely knit communities that combine residence and academic life. You can live at a University College, you can take some courses there, or both! You can even do an Arts degree through St. Jerome's University or Renison University College. 

The University Colleges are located in the heart of the main Waterloo campus but function as smaller communities within the larger university.

Do I have to be enrolled though a University College to live in that residence?

No, you can live at a University College and take all of your courses on the main Waterloo campus.

Which type of residence is the best fit for me?

Each residence has many services and experiences to offer. It’s more a case of which residence is best for you. Some offer more independence while others offer more social interaction, while others offer more privacy.

Each residence offers a strong sense of community, support for academic pursuits, full-time staff, and many amenities to make it feel like home. Campus and residence tours are a great way to learn more.

Meal Plan

Where can I use my meal plan on campus?

You can use your meal plan at the many Food Services outlets on campus. Your meal plan also includes flex dollars, which can be spent at a variety of off-campus locations as well as in vending machines, laundry machines, and photocopiers across campus.

If you live at one of the University Colleges, your meal plan applies to that college and you cannot use it at Food Services outlets.

What is the benefit of having a meal plan if I live in a suite-style residence?

If you are living in a suite-style residence, meal plans are optional. You may wish to purchase one if you plan on eating some of your meals in the food services outlets on campus.


Do I have to have a roommate?

Sharing a room really isn't as bad as you might think. You and your roommate will have very different schedules, so you won't always be in the room at the same time. In reality, roommate relationships usually work out well. Check out this video with tips to ensure a great roommate experience. 

Can I select my own roommate?

You can request to room with a friend as along as you are the same gender and you are in the same academic stream.

How am I matched with my roommate?

The allocation process considers your gender, whether you're in school for 4 or 8 months in first year, and the information you provided on the online Waterloo Residences Preference Form, including your medical information, residence community, roommate request, and your personal characteristic preferences.

More information

You can learn more about residence by reviewing the frequently asked questions on the Housing website.