With a 100% residence guarantee for first-year and transfer students, you can live in the middle of the action. You'll be close to your classes, labs and tutorials, the Student Life Centre, gyms, places to eat, and more.
Each of Waterloo's first-year residences offer personal and academic support such as Living Learning Communities, residence life staff, and social activities to help you adjust to living away from home.
Love where you live
Your home-away-from-home should suit your budget and personality. Choose from traditional or suite-style residences through Campus Housing or University College residences. No matter where you live on campus, you’ll find personal and academic support, new friends, and exciting experiences.
|Campus Housing residences||University College residences|
|Located on campus?||Yes||Yes|
|Available to any first-year student?||Yes||Yes|
|Single and double rooms?||Yes||Yes|
|Suite/apartment style and traditional dorm style rooms?||Both||Traditional style|
|Where do you eat?||At residence and outlets around campus||At your residence|
|Meal plans||Required for traditional residences; optional for suite-style||All-you-can-eat style meal plan, included in the cost of residence|
|How many students in each residence?||320 to 1380 students||140 to 360 students|
|Learn more||Campus Housing residences||University Colleges|
Once you apply to Waterloo, you're automatically eligible to live in residence. If you receive an offer of admission, all you need to do to guarantee your spot in residence is:
- Accept your Offer of Admission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (ET) on June 1, 2023.
- Submit a Residence Guarantee Application Form and a $500 non-refundable deposit by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on June 1, 2023.
- Meet any conditions outlined on your Offer of Admission.
Stay up to date on residence application deadlines by checking out the Campus Housing important dates page.
- The guarantee does not apply if you miss the June 1 deadline. Learn more about the residence process for first-year students.
- Your grades and when you receive an offer of admission do not influence your placement in residence. All first-year students are considered equally.
Applying to residence as a transfer student
Let us take care of finding you a place to live! Reserve your guaranteed residence spot by following the steps outlined on our upper year housing page.
Live in an academic, athletic, or Indigenous Living Learning Community
Through a Living Learning Community, you can live in the same area of residence with students who are in your academic program. Each Living Learning Community is assigned an upper-year mentor who offers leadership and support.
Themes include various academic programs, varsity athletics, students interested in the connection between technology and peace, and the Waterloo Indigenous student residence.
Common questions about residence
Am I required to live in residence?
While you are not required to live in residence, we highly recommend it! Research has shown that living in residence for first year increases students' academic success and graduation rates by giving them access to all the best resources the campus has to offer while also introducing them to friends and lots of fun experiences.
Are the floors co-ed?
It varies from residence to residence. Some floors are co-ed, many are not. Co-ed first-year floors usually have each gender in a separate wing with a separate washroom. Gender-inclusive housing options are also available in residence. Contact a Housing Advisor to learn more.
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?
Residence staff across campus 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 or access card to get in.
Are the University Colleges residences?
The four on-campus University Colleges are smaller, closely-knit communities that combine residence and academic life. You can
- live at a University College without taking courses there,
- take courses there without living there, or
- live in residence and take courses at one or more University Colleges and the main Waterloo campus.
You can even complete your Bachelor of Arts degree through St. Jerome's University or Renison University College.
Do I have to take classes at a University College to live there?
No, you can live at a University College and take all 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. 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. Can’t make it to campus? Check out our residence virtual tours.
Where can I use my meal plan on campus?
Living in one of Campus Housing's residences, 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, you'll enjoy an all-you-can-eat style of dining.
eat all your meals there.
What's the benefit of having a meal plan if I live in a suite/apartment-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. Great for days when you don’t have time to cook or visit the grocery store!
All you need to know about residence at Waterloo
To thrive at university, you need a home where you can be your best self. A soft spot to land that helps you succeed in every way – physically, mentally and socially. And a fun, welcoming community that feels like family.
Visit our Campus Housing website to learn about the residences, applying, meal plans, fees, and what students say about living in residence.
Whether you’re looking for an in-house smoked brisket poutine from Brubakers Food Court, a vegan curry from Ev3rgreen Café, or wanting to order off the Waterloo Food Services mobile app and have your lunch delivered to you, our on-campus eateries and cafés have plenty of choices.
And you're never far from a coffee shop like Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or William's. Plus student-run locations are great for good coffee and cheap snacks. Need caffeine late at night? Grab a coffee, food, snacks, and more 24/7 in the Student Life Centre!
Eating in residence
Meal plans make it quick and easy to enjoy fresh local food throughout the day – and for your late-night snacks. With halal, plant-based, and made-to-order options, we have your dining and snacking needs covered.
Special dietary needs?
Allergies? Gluten-free? Not sure where you can eat to suit your dietary choices? With a registered dietitian available to meet with you, eating on campus should never be a worry or concern!