Residents pose for a photo in Leopold Residence Hall.

First-Year Students

"Living in my dorm was a great way to adjust to campus as a freshman. Learning a whole new campus and lifestyle is hard enough, but having housing and meals taken care of makes it a lot less stressful. As a Lakeshore resident, I loved enjoying the city with my friends during the day, and coming home to a quiet, serene neighborhood at night."

Olivia R., Kronshage Residence Hall

Step 1: Sign & Complete Your Housing Contract

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New first-year UW-Madison students who are admitted to the University for the fall or spring semester are offered a contract for the University Residence Halls; a separate application for housing is not needed, but you must sign the contract by your due date. University Housing communicates with you through the email address you provided to the University on your application, with information to complete the online contract process in the My UW Housing portal if space is available.

Housing assignments at UW-Madison are not first come first serve, so you don’t need to sign your contract early. As long as you sign and submit the advance payment by your due date, you will be guaranteed a space.

Due by May 15 (for most admitted students)

My UW Housing

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Step 2: Submit Your Advance Payment

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Freshmen and transfers must pay a $75 non-refundable contract fee and a $225 advance payment to secure their space when the contract is signed. Review the cancellation policy in our contract for details on cancellation and the advance payment forfeiture schedule, if applicable. This payment represents a legally binding financial agreement. Your final Housing bill will be reduced by the advance payment you have made.

Due by May 15 (for most admitted students)

Make a Payment

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Step 3: Enter Your Preferences

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Explore our residence halls and learning/theme communities to see what spaces and interest areas might fit you, and enter your preferences in My UW Housing by your contract due date. Students rank their top choices by hall, room type, and community. Please note that we do our best to match your preferences, but you could be placed in any hall or community on or off your preference list.

Due by May 15 (for most admitted students)

My UW Housing

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More Details on Preferences

Helpful Tips for Submitting Your Hall Preferences

The following tips can be useful as you rank your hall preferences in My UW Housing:

  • Two students wishing to become roommates must list their hall preferences in the exact same order and preference one another in My UW Housing.
  • Students interested in living in a learning community or theme community should prioritize learning/theme communities over residence halls when submitting hall preferences in My UW Housing.
  • Rates and room types vary throughout the residence halls. Students interested in a particular room type should list all of the buildings with that particular room type at the top of their preference list.
  • Single rooms for freshman students are primarily available in Adams and Tripp. Students interested in a single room should preference these halls at the top of their list.

Items to note:

  • University Housing cannot guarantee placement in a particular building or room type.
  • University Housing hall assignments are not made on a first-come, first-serve basis due to multiple admissions decision releases at UW-Madison.
  • University Housing does not discriminate in assignments on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, national origin, or ancestry.

Step 4: Set Your Roommate Options

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Indicate if you want a random or preferred roommate in My UW Housing, and create/join a roommate group if you have a preferred roommate(s). You may choose to meet someone new with a randomly assigned roommate or to live with someone you already know. Roommate preferences must be submitted by your contract due date.

Due by May 15 (for most admitted students)

My UW Housing

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Step 5: Select Your Dining Plan

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All students living in the residence halls are required to select a resident dining plan. There are three plan options to choose from, depending on the number of meals per week that fit your eating habits.

Students can change their dining plan selection in My UW Housing until early-August. Students will have another opportunity to adjust their plan for the spring semester in late-fall.

Due by May 15 (for most admitted students)

My UW Housing

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Step 6: Receive Your Room Assignment

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In the summer, you will receive your room assignment, along with your roommate(s) information and move-in schedule. Whether you get one of your top choices or a space that wasn’t on your preferences, overwhelmingly students tell us in end-of-year surveys that they would recommend their residence hall experience. No matter which community you live in, it’s about what you make of the experience. Some students may receive a later assignment sometime later in the summer but are still guaranteed to have a space in Housing and will get their information before move-in.

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Step 7: Contact Your Assigned Roommate(s)

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Whether you chose a preferred roommate or went random, roommate(s) need to have good communication and respect privacy and property. When you get your assignment information, contact your roommate(s) before move-in to get to know them and plan your room setup. After you move in, you’ll complete a roommate agreement to help start conversations and set boundaries.

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Step 8: Move Into Your New UW-Madison Home!

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The big day is here! All students are assigned a date and time for their fall move in, and our staff and volunteers work hard to provide an easy, welcoming move-in experience.

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Step 9: Pay Your Housing & Tuition Bill

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Housing and dining plan costs are combined with tuition on a semesterly bill from UW-Madison.

Due in mid-September

Make a Payment

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Looking Ahead - Year 2 & Beyond

For year 2 of college and beyond, many students start looking in early-fall at their housing options, which may include returning to the residence halls or living off-campus. We encourage students to make their housing decisions when they have a sense of their plans for next year. That may look different for every student, depending on their priorities for location, size and type of unit, and desired price points. Residence hall space is not guaranteed after the first year, so students should pay attention to information from University Housing. The University Housing returning resident process typically begins in October.