Campus Housing

Location
Undergrads
7,236
Tuition
$49,138
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: LOVED Carman hall freshman year!

3 College Junior

Campus Housing: Living in Columbia housing is a mixed bag. On the one hand, unless you have a trust fund, it is exceptional to live in guaranteed housing in NYC. It is conveniently close to all classroom buildings (for the most part) and is mostly clean. Freshman housing is nice and ideally located next to the main library and on top of the three dining halls. Sophomore year is a crap shoot, but it gets better, and getting singles all four years is not impossible. The housing lottery (after freshman year) is confusing, but any upperclassman can explain it, and people get a weird thrill out of calculating their probability of getting different rooms, so it ends up being a bonding experience. On the other hand, if you get stuck in a bad dorm, it really sucks. McBain and Nussbaum both have pest problems, and a lot of the dorms lack a/c, which sucks in September. But even then, you join a tradition of Columbia students who have dealt with the same problems for decades. As for a social scene in the dorms, it varies greatly depending on who you live with. I lived in the "anti-social" freshman dorm, Furnald, and had a great social life. So it is what you make of it.

1 person found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Housing: Same as last page. As well as it would be ideal to have refrigerators in the lounges. 99% of my money is going to eating out, because I can't store anything here.

College Junior

Campus Housing: I won't know till the fall.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Freshman residences are the best by far. Single rooms are pretty rare for sophomores, so as long as you make a friend or two you should be fine for the next year.

1 person found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 838th
    Shortest Walk to Class
  • 1066th
    Best Dorm Atmosphere
  • 1267th
    Cleanest Dorms
  • 1358th
    Most Spacious Dorms

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sara Cervantes
Hometown
Austin, TX
Major
English and American Studies
Grad Year
2014
View all previous student authors

The Columbia housing process is definitely a character-building experience. Freshmen need not fret, as their housing options are generally very nice, especially when compared to some upperclassman dorms. Additionally, Columbia is one of the few colleges that offers first-years the chance to live in a single, which can be a good option for those who fear being matched with an incompatible roommate as soon as they arrive at college. All first-years are required to live on campus, but most students live in campus housing for all four years due to the ridiculous prices of New York City real estate. While freshman dorms are located directly on Columbia's main campus, all Columbia housing is conveniently located (the farthest a student would have to walk to be on campus from his or her residence hall is about five blocks).

Residence halls are varied in layout, amenities, newness, and sociability. This means that students should consider what they value in their living situation. If you value your privacy above all else, you can likely snag a single at the expense of location and sociability. Additionally, if you want to live in a "party dorm," you will likely have to share the space with a roommate, and your building may not be as new or have as many amenities. The housing lottery that Columbia uses to determine when you can choose your housing is a frustrating system, and the housing selection process is a fairly intense race to pick a good dorm and to not get "shafted" (having to live in a building's shaft, which lacks a view or air circulation).

Facts & Statistics

On-Campus Housing Available?
Yes
Campus Housing Capacity
5,606
Average Housing Costs
$7,110
Types of Housing Offered
  • Coed dorms
  • Fraternity/sorority housing
  • Special housing for disabled students
Freshmen Required to Live on Campus?
Yes
Undergrads Living On Campus
95%
Freshmen Living On Campus
99%
Number of Dormitories
12
Number of Campus-Owned Apartments
9
Best Freshman Dorms
John Jay
Best Upperclassman Dorms
  • East Campus
  • Watt
Worst Freshman Dorms
  • Carman
  • Furnald
  • Wallach and Hartley LLCs
Worst Upperclassman Dorms
  • McBain
  • Schapiro
  • Wien
What You Get
  • Bed
  • Campus phone
  • Closet or wardrobe
  • Desk and chair
  • Dresser
  • Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi
Also Available
Single-sex floors are uncommon, but they are available in hall-style dorms. Additionally, special-interest housing can be obtained through an application process. There is substance-free housing available, as well as gender-neutral housing options.
Available for Rent
Refrigerators
Did You Know?
Columbia dorms are riddled with serious elevator etiquette. Because most buildings are tall, old, and have slow elevators, it is customary to walk one or two flights of stairs in lieu of taking the elevator. The same goes for walking one flight to the basement for laundry (though exceptions are made for coming up with a big bag of clothes and detergent). Those disobeying these unwritten laws will be subjected to snide comments from fellow elevator riders accompanied by frequent button pushing to speed up the ride.

DormitoriesWhat's This?

47 Claremont
Floors: 6
Number of Occupants: 100-249
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Located behind Barnard campus, Claremont affords the opportunity to live in campus housing while living away from Columbia's main campus.
600 W. 113th
Floors: 11
Number of Occupants: 100-249
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Conveniently located right off Broadway, meaning short trips to nearby stores, restaurants, and other dorms. Rooms are arranged into large suites. Additionally, the building is shared with residents other than undergrads (including some grad students and non-student tenants).
Broadway
Floors: 14
Number of Occupants: 250-499
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: Broadway is one of the newest residence halls, and it shows. This building features three fast elevators, two sky lounges on the 14th floor, and a computer lab on the third floor. Each floor additionally has a kitchen with two stoves and a dishwasher, as well as a lounge with a television and couches.
Carman Hall
Floors: 13
Number of Occupants: 500-749
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles)
Special Features: Definitely the loudest/most social of the freshman dorms, Carman features spacious doubles which are connected via a shared bathroom (meaning a 4-to-1 person-to-bathroom ratio, hard to beat as a freshman).
Furnald
Floors: 10
Number of Occupants: 250-499
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen and sophomores
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: Recently renovated, Furnald is home to freshman and very lucky sophomores living in mostly singles (with a few doubles). Its location right on campus and its spacious kitchens make Furnald a desirable place to many. Furnald is also known as the least social freshman dorm, as students are likely to be content holing up in their rooms.
Harmony Hall
Floors: 8
Number of Occupants: 50-99
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: Each floor has a kitchen and common area, and the building has two printing stations. This dorm is located relatively far away from the main campus, giving it an off-campus feel and placing occupants near Broadway stores and restaurants.
Hogan
Floors: 7
Number of Occupants: 100-249
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Seniors
Room Types: Suites (singles)
Special Features: One of the most coveted dorms at Columbia, Hogan boasts large singles in a suite configuration, along with a great location right off Broadway. Because of this desirability, however, Hogan suites go quickly to lucky seniors.
John Jay
Floors: 15
Number of Occupants: 250-499
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: An ideal freshman dorm for students who want a fairly social experience while also having the privacy of a single, John Jay also houses the main dining hall as well as the late-night campus eatery, making this residence hall very convenient. It is also located right on campus, next to Columbia's main undergrad library.
McBain
Floors: 8
Number of Occupants: 250-499
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Sophomores
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: Sometimes referred to as "Carman II," McBain is a very social sophomore dorm. Doubles are often large, and each floor features a kitchen/lounge. McBain is home to lots of parties, and thin walls mean that going to bed early on a weekend is an unlikely scenario.
River
Floors: 6
Number of Occupants: 100-249
Bathrooms: Semi-suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Seniors
Room Types: Semi-suites (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Recently renovated, with a location near Riverside Park, River is a popular senior dorm. Singles are arranged into two large suites, each of which features two bathrooms and a lounge/kitchen area.
Schapiro
Floors: 16
Number of Occupants: 250-499
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: A fairly modern building, Schapiro is a good choice for juniors seeking singles. Kitchens are huge, allowing for more than one person to use the space at any given time. Additionally, the top floors and 17th floor sky lounge have great views of Manhattan.
Wien
Floors: 12
Number of Occupants: 250-499
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Sophomores and juniors
Room Types: Singles, doubles
Special Features: For students who want to live in a single without having to worry about organizing a suite to live in, Wein is a good choice. Though residents do have to share a bathroom with the rest of their floor, each room has its own sink. Additionally, the main lounge on the ground floor boasts a grand piano, chandelier, and ballroom decor!

Campus-Owned ApartmentsWhat's This?

548 W. 113th
Floors: 5
Number of Units: 10
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Studios (doubles)
Special Features: One of the newest additions to undergraduate housing, this building boasts spacious studio doubles, each of which features a private kitchen and bathroom. With an occupancy of only about 14, this dorm is definitely one of the quieter ones.
Brownstones
Floors: 5
Number of Units: 100-249
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Two- to four-bedroom Brownstones (singles, doubles)
Special Features: The Brownstones, with the exception of 548 West 113th, are not included in the housing selection process, but are filled by fraternities, sororities, and special interest groups. They feature house-style living and are located very near to Columbia's main campus.
East Campus
Floors: 20
Number of Units: 100-249
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Four- to six-bedroom apartments (singles, doubles)
Special Features: A very popular, very social dorm which offers apartment living in many different forms, as well as spectacular views. While units made up of singles get taken up fairly quickly by seniors, the larger two-level units are often occupied by mixed groups of seniors, juniors, and sophomores.
Hartley Hall
Floors: 10
Number of Units: 10-24
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Eight-, ten-, and fourteen-bedroom apartments (singles, doubles)
Special Features: With Wallach, Hartley forms the Learning and Living Center, known as the LLC. With regular events, this dorm offers more of a community-oriented experience for all its residents (who range from freshman to senior). Because of this, you must apply to live in the LLC. The LLC is conveniently located right on Columbia's main campus, next door to academic buildings.
Ruggles
Floors: 8
Number of Units: 25-49
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Four-, six-, and eight-bedroom apartments (singles, doubles)
Special Features: A popular option for upperclassmen who want to room together, Ruggles is conveniently located right next to campus and has kitchens and high ceilings in each unit. Singles and doubles are organized into four, six, or eight-person units.
University Apartments
Floors: Varies
Number of Units: 25-49
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Seniors
Room Types: Apartments (doubles)
Special Features: The four buildings are located on 113th and 114th streets and house a mixture of seniors, grad students, and faculty.
These apartment buildings are open to seniors eager to have their own apartment but who do not want to sacrifice the relatively low cost of Columbia housing or proximity to campus.
Wallach
Floors: 10
Number of Units: 25-49
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen and upperclassmen
Room Types: Seven-, eight-, and ten-bedroom apartments (singles, doubles)
Special Features: With Hartley, Wallach forms the Learning and Living Center, known as the LLC. With regular events, this dorm offers more of a community-oriented experience for all its residents (who range from freshman to seniors). Because of this, you must apply to live in the LLC.
Watt
Floors: 6
Number of Units: 50-99
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Besides the mysterious University Apartments, Watt is the closest a Columbia student can get to apartment living without having to pay the ridiculous price of rent in New York City. The seniors with the best lottery numbers will pick into the studio singles and two-bedroom apartments, while juniors will generally take the one-bedroom and studio doubles.
Woodbridge
Floors: 7
Number of Units: 50-99
Bathrooms: Private
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: One- and two-bedroom apartments (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Residents live in one-bedroom apartments which consist of a double bedroom, a kitchen, a common area, and a private bathroom. Some students choose to use the common room as a separate bedroom, creating two singles rather than one double and a living room. Woodbridge boasts views of both Riverside Park and the Hudson River.

Student Polls

Rate campus housing on the following subjects    Based on 51 responses

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  • Ease of housing process/lottery system
  • Proximity to classes
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  • Social atmosphere
  • Spaciousness
  • Appropriate level of rule enforcement
  • Value

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