College Plan Timeline:


To get an idea where you want to live, ask current students, alumni, and check out online forums that give housing advice.

Complete your student housing application early to get the best college dorms available at your school.

Now on to the important stuff: where you’ll be living and who you’ll be living with. As an incoming freshman, you’ll receive all kinds of housing information at the end of your senior year or the very beginning of the summer. Along with this information will be directions on how to apply for housing.

If you want to increase your chances of getting good housing (or housing at all in some schools’ case), you’ll want to complete your application as soon as possible.

What to Expect When Applying for Housing

Many schools require non-married students under the age of 21 to live on campus. The good news is you’ll probably be able to choose your roommate, room, and residence hall preferences on your application.

Here’s what to expect on a typical housing application:

  • Personal information. Including name, age, phone number, school year, special needs, and school or program you’ll be pursuing.
  • Roommate matching questionnaire. The majority of schools these days provide some sort of roommate matching services. These questions might ask about studying preferences, age, socializing, cleanliness, drinking and smoking preferences, sleep habits, and even music preferences. Be honest with yourself as you fill out this questionnaire; you don’t need to try to impress anyone with how little you sleep or what kind of music you like.
  • Roommate request. This section gives you the opportunity to request a particular roommate by name. Make sure both roommates have exactly the same information throughout your applications to ensure you secure housing together. Check out our Dorm Room Checklist to make sure you have everything for your room.
  • Meal plan options. Talk with your parents about how many meals you want to include with your housing. If you know you’ll eat off-campus a lot, don’t select a meal plan that includes a lot of on-campus meals.
  • Room preferences. Most colleges have rooms of varying types and sizes including singles, doubles, triples, and suites. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure you have a chance at your top choice but remember there will be a lot of competition for the best dorm rooms.
  • Parking permit request. Some schools will give you the opportunity to apply for an on-campus parking pass but many schools only reserve this parking for upper-classmen or commuter students.
  • Sign and return your application. Return your completed application (on time of course) to the housing department with your application fee (if applicable.)

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Related Tools and Checklists

High School Junior Timeline and Checklist
High School Senior Timeline and Checklist

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Dorm Life 101
On-Campus Housing and Dorm Rules
The Cost of College Room and Board
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