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Housing Application

  • What is the Student Life Portal?

    The student life portal is the online portal where students log into and apply for housing, select a room, room swap and perform other housing functions.

    Before you log into the HLS Student Life Portal you will need to have a Harvard University identification number.

  • How can I be included in room selection?

    In order to be included in room selection you will need to fill out the HLS Housing application in the HLS Student Life Portal.

    Find out when the housing application will be available on the Housing calendar.

  • If I submit my application on the first day the application opens, will I be guaranteed a room selection window?

    We are unable to make guarantees that everyone who applies for HLS Housing will be given a room selection window.  The number of room selection windows are based on the number of housing applications and the number of rooms available in inventory.

    Additionally, when you submit your application has no impact on your chances for a better room selection window.  All applications are weighted equally as long as you apply before the the application deadline.

  • Why doesn’t the application ask me for my housing placement preferences?

    We do not ask where you would like to live within the HLS Residences in the housing application because we do not assign you a room. During the room selection window, students have the opportunity to browse the room inventory and select a room that best suites their needs.

  • What if I need certain housing accommodations?

    If you require a housing accommodation due to a disability or medical related issue HLS Housing highly encourages you to reach out to our Accessibility Services Office early, even before the housing application opens.

    Applicants who do not self-identify early run the risk of not finding a room with the appropriate accommodation needs.

    There are also other types of housing accommodations that can be supported at HLS Houisng, such as the ones listed below.

    If you have a unique circumstance not listed here, please contact HLS Housing at

  • ***Does HLS Housing accommodate partners, children, or pets?

    No. HLS Housing accommodates individual HLS students in both the residence halls and woodframe apartments. Our residential program does not accommodate partners or children. Our residence halls are not pet-friendly or pet-conducive.

    There are many other housing options available for HLS students with partners, dependents, and pets.

  • ***Does HLS Housing offer single-semester housing?

    HLS Housing is a residential program based on a full academic year. There are two application processes:

    Full academic year:

    Our full-academic year program includes a move-in and move-out date based on each student classification. Housing does not close for any period (such as winter/spring breaks) during the academic year; however we do not offer housing options during the summer.

    Persons who will not be students during the spring semester (single-semester exchange students, persons who are on a leave of absence for the fall, persons graduating at the end of spring, students accepted to a study abroad/DC program for the spring) can cancel the spring portion of their full-academic year contract without penalty, as long as they fall into one of those categories. Please see the exceptions to the Cancellation Policy here. Please note that spring contract cancellations are not verified until later during the fall semester. It is not possible to sign a full-year contract and then cancel spring right away.

    Students who will continue to study at HLS campus during their contract may cancel at any time; however penalties apply. Please see the Cancellation Policy here.

    Spring Only:

    Our spring only housing applications are for students who will not be living and studying at HLS during the fall. These applications are launched in October on Spring Only students should NOT submit an academic year contract. Spring Only applicants will participate in a separate room selection process later in November.

  • Am I guaranteed HLS Housing for the entire duration of my time at HLS?

    HLS Housing is a very small housing system comprised of fewer than 600 beds. The HLS population is greater than 2,000 students. As a result, students need to reapply for HLS Housing annually if they would like to live on-campus in subsequent academic years. Students must move out of housing at the end of each academic year and arrange for summer storage if they would like to leave items in the area.

    If you are looking for an option in which you do not need to move annually, and can renew your contract for the same unit, HUH Housing may be the best option for you.

Room Selection

  • How can I prepare for Room Selection?

    First and foremost, mark your calendar. You will be contacted with results of the room selection lottery. At that time, you will be given a time and date as to when you will be able to begin viewing the inventory. Please note that we cannot make time/date adjustments and all windows will take place in ET.

    Familiarize yourself with the residence halls. Read up carefully on the different amenities each residence hall offers, and take a look at the floor plans on the residence page. Make a list of several residence/room types you might be interested in, should your first/second choice not be available.

    Familiarize yourself with the room rates and your student budget. Make sure you have noted which room types are inside and outside of your budget.

    Have backup plans. Students are not guaranteed availability on-campus or in a certain residence hall. Make plans for yourself in the case that your first choice of residence hall is not available. If you are only interested in specific residences or room types, make sure to have alternative housing arrangements in the case that those residences or rooms have been filled.

  • Is it possible to tour the residences in-person to see what they look like in-advance?

    Our campus and residence halls are not currently open for tours. You can find both interior and exterior photographs of our residence halls and dorm rooms on the Residence Hall information pages.

  • What are the general housing policies for residents living on campus?

    Please see our housing handbook for all policies.

    If I would like to share a 2-bedroom suite or apartment with another HLS student, how would I do so?

    You will need to form a group with this student before the application deadline. There is a section of the application that will ask if you would like to do this. Students who are grouped together will be given the same room selection window so the group leader can select and assign spaces in the same suite/apartment to all group members. Once this is done, each individual group member has 48 hours to log on and sign their contracts.

    Students who have signed up as a group are not obligated to live together. Should the group decide not to live together for any reason, each individual student can opt to sign onto their own application and select their own separate space instead. This can only be done if the group leader has not already selected a space on their behalf.

  • If I select a room in a 2-bedroom suite/apartment or a 3+ bedroom house and the other room(s) are still vacant, what happens with them?

    If you select into one bedroom of a multiple-bedroom unit and are not part of a group that selects the other bedroom(s), any rooms that are unselected will remain as vacancies in the inventory for anyone else to select. Students who select one room in a 2-bedroom unit SHOULD always expect to have a suitemate.

  • Once I’ve selected a room in HLS Housing, am I guaranteed this room for my entire time at HLS?

    No. HLS Housing has a separate application and room selection for each academic year. Since the residential program has significantly fewer beds than the student population, students must apply and participate in the new Room Selection Process annually to select a new room for the upcoming year.

  • Since Returning Students select on the first day, do Returning Students have priority for selecting from the entire vacancy inventory over Incoming students?

    No. There is a separate room inventory set aside for all three room selection processes. This means there are a number of beds that will be available in each large residence on each selection day.

    Any rooms that are left after the room lottery process ends will then we available to late applicants the following week.

  • My room selection window start time is inconvenient for me. Can I change it or trade with another student?

    Room Selection Windows are randomly assigned and cannot be changed. You are welcome to log in and select at any time AFTER your window opens–however, the inventory will greatly decrease as time goes on. Students who have been given a room selection window are only guaranteed that an on-campus vacancy will be available to them until late housing applicants are able to make their room reservations.

  • Is there a waitlist for specific rooms or buildings?

    There are no separate waitlists. While we do not expect many rooms to open up this late in the calendar year, any new vacancies that do open up can immediately be found in the housing portal to select from. Students who have not selected a room yet can see them in the Room Selection Wizard. Students who already reserved a dorm room can see them (the same exact inventory) in the Room Swap Tool until room assignments are finalized on June 30th at 5pm ET.

    Students who reserved a space in an HLS Apartments cannot view available vacancies as their assignment has been finalized.

  • ROOM SWAP: How do I change my dorm room reservation?

    Students who select a dorm room (Gropius, Hastings, or North Hall) can sign their Residence License Agreement and then immediately use the Room Swap Tool to return to the vacancy inventory and change their room reservation.

    By accessing the Room Swap Tool and viewing the vacancy inventory again, you are not forfeiting your current room reservation until the point that you reserve a different room. Once you do so, your initial room reservation will immediately be available for another student to select.

    Your Residence License Contract applies to whatever room you have reserved as of June 30th at 5 pm when dorm reservations can no longer be changed.


    • If you change rooms using Room Swap, you will not re-sign your Room License Agreement. Your Residence License Agreement states that it applies to the housing assignment that you are officially assigned to in The Student Life Portal as of June 30th.
    • There is no fee associated with changing a room.
    • If you swap into a room with a different room rate than your original room, you will be responsible for the new room rate.
    • You cannot use the Room Swap Tool if you have signed an Apartment Lease for an apartment-style accommodation at 3 Mellen Street, 5 Mellen Street, or 1637 Massachusetts Avenue. Apartment assignments are final once a lease is signed, regardless of date.
  • Can I change my reservation in the HLS Apartments (3 Mellen, 5 Mellen, or 1637 Massachusetts Ave)?

    Once you sign your HLS Apartment lease, your apartment reservation for the exact unit is officially finalized. It is not possible to move to a different unit or building. You can cancel your lease, but the HLS Apartment Cancellation Policy (and all associated fees) will immediately apply.

  • What is the Room Swap Tool?

    Room Swap is a function in the housing application on the Student Life Portal that allows a student with a reserved dorm-style booking to trade their current reserved room for another available room. If you have to have selected a dorm-style room in your HLS Housing application and signed your Room License Agreement in order to use Room Swap. Room Swap will remain open until Room Selection ends.

    You are welcome to swap your room for an available room as many times as you would like prior to the end of Room Selection, when you room assignment will become finalized. Some students may select a room and then opt not to sign their residence license agreement. This room reservation will expire after 72 hours and will be placed back on the housing portal to be selected via the Room Search Wizard AND the Room Swap Tool.

  • Are the room inventories different in the Room Selection Wizard and the Direct Swap Tool?

    No. Both tools show the same exact room inventory at the same exact time. These are different tools that show the same room inventory. They are used by students based on where they are in their reservation process.

    The Room Search Wizard is a tool used to browse the inventory by students who have not yet selected a room.

    The Room Swap Tool is a used to browse the SAME inventory by students who have already selected a room and would like to change their room.

  • If I am unhappy with my room reservation, can I change my room before signing my Residence License Agreement?

    Once you select an initial room, you must sign your residence license agreement before you can change it. If you select a room in the Room Search Wizard and attempt to use your browser “Back” button, you will find that the pages will not load properly and you will receive an error message that states you cannot select another room.

    In order to change your room once you select it, you must sign your residence license agreement. Once finished, you will see the Room Swap Tool pop up on the top of your application. You can use this tool to browse the inventory again and change your room.

  • Why doesn’t the application ask me for my housing placement preferences?

    We do not ask you where you would like to live within the HLS Residences, because we do not assign you. During each room selection window, students have the opportunity to browse the entire vacancy inventory and select the exact room assignment for themselves. The entire available vacancy inventory can be viewed at that time.

  • What if I need certain housing accommodations?

    HLS Housing has options to accommodate many student needs. Please click below for further information, based on your need.

    If there are any additional unique circumstances not listed above for which you have specific housing requests, please contact HLS Housing at

  • What are my chances of getting my preferred room type/building?

    We are unable to make predictions or guarantees of what will be available at the time you log into the selection process. This is determined based on the spaces that your fellow applicants select, what Fall Only residents are moving out of, as well as how rare the room type is that you are hoping for.

    For the spring, we  cannot guarantee vacancies will be available in every building or room type. Please enter into the selection process open-minded with many possible assignment alternatives/plans in case your first choice is not available.

  • When can I move into my Spring Only reservation?

    The housing application will ask you whether or not you are registering for a Winter Term class (which will be verified and confirmed).

    Students registered for a Winter Term class may begin to move in on January 2nd.

    Students who are NOT registering for a Winter Term class but will begin classes  in the spring may move in on January 23rd.

    We do not have earlier move-in dates, so please plan accordingly.

    We will be able to accommodate later move-in dates as needed. More info regarding the move-in process will be included in the move-in instruction e-mail sent out prior to move-in.


  • What if I meet someone I would like to live with after the deadline has passed?

    Once the grouping deadline has passed, we cannot accept any new group requests. You will need to coordinate with your potential roommates to log on and separately select rooms in the same area, building, or suite, based on what is available.

  • My suitemate has decided to live elsewhere. What happens to their space if they cancel/change out of the unit?

    The vacancy will immediately become available to any other HLS Housing applicant who is viewing the available inventory. If you have another HLS student in-mind whom you would like to live with in your current space, you would need to advise them to log on as soon as possible to try to select the space.