Campus Housing

Location
Cambridge, MA
Undergrads
6,652
Tuition
$42,292
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Housing at Harvard is unique and one of the things that sets it apart from other schools. All freshmen live in the Yard, until they are randomly sorted into upperclassmen houses, which become important communities for the next three years. In general, there are all the amenities one could ask for, but that does not mean that the actual rooms themselves are great. It's a mixed bag in terms of space and accommodations very by house.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Beautiful dorms, most are quite large and luxurious. The freshman dorms are kind of dusty, though. And a few upperclassman dorms are kind of far from the center of campus, although probably much closer than dorms at most schools. A lot are right on the Charles River, as well! The housing process is a lot of fun - you choose a blocking group to be housed with and upperclassmen storm the yard at like 7 am one morning to deliver housing letters!

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Campus Housing: It's college housing, what can you expect. As a freshmen its not the best but gets better as you get older!

5 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Adams House is the best house.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Campus Housing: Living on campus all four years is great until you get out into the real world and realize you have no idea about how to find a good deal on an apartment.

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

  • 61st
    Most Spacious Dorms
  • 77th
    Best Dorm Atmosphere
  • 111st
    Cleanest Dorms
  • 694th
    Shortest Walk to Class

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Dominic Hood
Hometown
New Orleans, La.
Major
Psychology
View all previous student authors

When more than 95 percent of undergraduates at Harvard prefer to live on campus, you know there must be something attractive about the housing opportunities. From its rich history and beautiful architecture to the close-knit house communities and central location, Harvard campus housing is matched by few, if any, universities in the country. Freshmen live in the Old Yard and the Union, while upperclassmen move toward the river and out toward the quad after their first year. But regardless of location, Harvard's rooms tend to be spacious, and almost all rooms feature common rooms and private bathrooms. Many of the houses also offer features like darkrooms, music practice rooms, workout facilities, and late-night grilles.

However, all dorms have their pros and cons, and you will hear undergraduates living in the river houses complain about smaller rooms, while students in the quad complain about the long trek to classes. These complaints are rare, but they do exist. The general sentiment of the Harvard undergrad is resoundingly in favor of campus housing at Harvard. House communities are integral parts of student social life, and because of this, few would relinquish their campus housing just because of a long walk or smaller room.

Facts & Statistics

On-Campus Housing Available?
Yes
Campus Housing Capacity
12,993
Average Housing Costs
$8,366
Types of Housing Offered
  • Apartments for married students
  • Apartments for single students
  • Coed dorms
  • Cooperative housing
  • Special housing for disabled students
Freshmen Required to Live on Campus?
Yes
Undergrads Living On Campus
98%
Freshmen Living On Campus
100%
Number of Dormitories
16
Number of Campus-Owned Apartments
8
Best Freshman Dorms
  • Apley Court
  • Grays Hall
  • Thayer Hall
  • Weld Hall
Best Upperclassman Dorms
  • Adams House
  • Currier House
  • Pforzheimer House
Worst Freshman Dorms
  • Canaday Hall
  • Pennypacker Hall
  • Stoughton Hall
Worst Upperclassman Dorms
  • Dunster House
  • Lowell House
  • Winthrop House
Best Dorms
  • Adams House (for upperclassmen)
  • Anything in the Yard (for freshmen)
  • Kirkland House (for upperclassmen)
Worst Dorms
  • Mather House (for upperclassmen)
  • Union Dorms (freshmen)
What You Get
  • Bed
  • Bookcase
  • Closet
  • Desk
  • Dresser
  • Ethernet connection
Also Available
In addition to the 13 traditional upperclass Houses, another option is the Dudley Co-Op. Undergrads in this house share the duties of cooking and cleaning, but they pay about half what other students pay for room and board.
Did You Know?
  • Harvard approaches on-campus living unlike any other college in the nation. After being carefully assigned roommates and dorm accommodations by the University during their first year, students get to choose with whom they'll live for the remaining three. They do this by means of a blocking group, which is composed of up to eight people and can be coed. Every group is then entered into a random housing lottery and assigned to an upperclass house for the next three years, so you will live with your blockmates together in one house. But don't worry—although you stay in the same House, you still get assigned a different room each year, and they get better as you go along.
  • Before you get ready to move into your house, you'll spend your first year in one of the freshman dorms. All of the freshman dorms—with the exception of Apley Court, Greenough, Pennypacker, and Hurlbut—are in Old Harvard Yard. The type of room and number of students each dorm holds varies from year to year, depending on the size of the freshman class and the planning of the Harvard Housing office. All freshman housing is suite-style.
  • There are 13 independent upperclassman houses, and each offers its advantages and disadvantages. The houses are made up of several individual buildings that all feature a variety of room sizes, and the number of floors and bathrooms per room varies greatly, even within the same building. All houses and freshman dorms are coed, and the male-to-female ratio is tweaked to match the overall composition of the University as close as possible.
  • You can search the past inhabitants of every freshman dorm room at www.hcs.harvard.edu/~dorms.

DormitoriesWhat's This?

Adams House
Number of Occupants: 250–499
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Café, computer/fax/copier room, darkroom, dining hall, library, music practice rooms, pool table, student kitchen, studio space, theater, TV room. Considered one of Harvard's most historic houses, former residents include William Burroughs, Henry Kissinger, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Apley Court
Floors: 5
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles, triples)
Special Features: Full kitchen in building, high ceilings, marble staircase, prime location just outside the Harvard Yard, walk-in closets
Cabot House
Number of Occupants: 250–499
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Suites (singles)
Special Features: Bike storage, common rooms, community kitchens, computer lab, dance studio, gym, laundry facilities, library, mail room, music practice rooms, on-site dining, pianos, social/study lounges, TV lounge
Canady Hall
Floors: 5
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Singles, quads
Special Features: When seen from above, it apparently resembles a question mark.
Currier House
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Singles
Special Features: Common rooms, computer lab, dance studio, gym, laundry facilities, music practice room, on-site dining
Dudley House
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen and graduate students
Room Types: Suites
Special Features: Computer lab, game room, library, lopckers, meeting rooms, on-site dining, pianos
Eliot House
Number of Occupants: 250–499
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles, triples)
Special Features: Art room, classrooms, common rooms, community kitchenette, computer lab, dance studio, exercise room, laundry facilities, library, movie room, music practice rooms, on-site dining, photography studio, tower room, TV lounge, woodshop
Grays Hall
Floors: 5
Number of Occupants: 50–99
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles)
Special Features: Common room with TV and seating for 35, hardwood floors, houses classrooms and peer counseling office, large windows, suites have extremely spacious common rooms
Greenough Hall
Floors: 4
Number of Occupants: 50–99
Bathrooms: Communal, suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Singles, doubles, triples, suites (doubles)
Special Features: Community kitchen, laundry facilities, music practice room, ping-pong table, TV lounge
Hollis Hall
Floors: 5
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Doubles
Special Features: Hollis has large rooms and is the fourth-oldest building at Harvard. It was once home to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
Holworthy Hall
Floors: 4
Bathrooms: Communal, suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles)
Special Features: Building has renovated basement with full kitchen, lounge with plasma TV, seating for nearly 30 people. Each suite has common room and party-friendly rooms.
Hurlbut Hall
Floors: 4
Number of Occupants: 50–99
Bathrooms: Communal, suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Singles, suites (doubles)
Special Features: Only dorm you can get into with just a key—useful on the Jewish Sabbath. Building has computer room and laundry facilities.
Lionel and Mower halls
Floors: 3
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (triples, quads)
Special Features: Courtyard in front of the building, which forms a nice place for relaxing. Mower basement has common room, full kitchen, study space.
Massachusetts Hall
Floors: 4, but residents only live in top two floors
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Oldest dorm in the country, and each suite has a common room. The bottom floors of the building are home to offices of University administrators, including the University president.
Matthews Hall
Floors: 5
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles)
Special Features: Suites have common room and decorative in-room fireplaces. Building has full kitchen, Gothic architecture, music practice rooms, renovated common room with plasma TV, study room.
Pennypacker Hall ("The Pack")
Floors: 4
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles)
Special Features: Central marble staircase, each suite has common room, hardwood floors.
Stoughton Hall
Floors: 4
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Doubles
Special Features: Large rooms, located next to Hollis
Straus Hall
Floors: 4
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles, triples, quads)
Special Features: Common room with TV, small kitchen, seating for 30
Thayer Hall
Floors: 5
Bathrooms: Communal
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Doubles, triples
Special Features: Elevator; great location in the North end of the Old Yard; renovated basement with full kitchen, laundry room, lounge with plasma TV, pool table, study room; once home to e. e. cummings.
Weld Hall
Floors: 5
Bathrooms: Communal, suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (singles, doubles)
Special Features: Adjacent to Widener Library, this building has a common room with full kitchen, study tables, and TV, elevator, and houses Harvard Police station in basement. It was once home to John F. Kennedy.
Wigglesworth Hall
Floors: 3
Bathrooms: Suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Freshmen
Room Types: Suites (doubles)
Special Features: Music practice rooms, pool table, renovated common room with plasma TV and seating for 20

Campus-Owned ApartmentsWhat's This?

Dunster House
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Computer lab, darkroom, Dunster House Grille, library, music rooms, pottery studio, student kitchen, video library, weight room; former home to Al Gore and John Lithgow
Kirkland House
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Computer lab, dining hall, library, music rooms, performance spaces, weight room
Leverett House (Halls: Leverett Towers, McKinlock)
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Computer lab, darkroom, dining hall, fitness center, library, music rooms, pool and pingpong room, theater, views of Boston skyline for students on top floors of tower, volleyball court
Lowell House
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Art room, computer lab, darkroom, gym, library, Lowell House bells, music rooms, squash courts
Mather House (Halls: Low-Rise, Tower)
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Art gallery, computer lab, courtyard, darkroom, game area with air hockey, foosball, and pool table, grille, library, music practice rooms, pottery studio, tranquility room, views of Boston from rooms in the tower, weight room, woodshop
Pforzheimer House (Halls: Comstock, Holmes, Jordan North and South, Moors, Wolback)
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Art studio, computer lab, dance studio, dining hall, living rooms, TV studio, weight room.
Quincy House (Halls: Old Quincy, New Quincy)
Floors: 9
Bathrooms: Private, suite
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Computer room, darkroom, dining hall, fitness center, library, music room, performance space, pottery studio; former home to Lou Dobbs and Tom Ridge
Winthrop House (Halls: Gore, Standish)
Coed: Yes
Residents: Upperclassmen
Special Features: Common rooms, computer labs, library, music rooms; former home to Ben Bernanke, Edward Kennedy, John F. Kennedy

Student Polls

Rate campus housing on the following subjects    Based on 43 responses

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  • Overall building quality
  • Amenities/perks
  • Cleanliness
  • Ease of housing process/lottery system
  • Proximity to classes
  • Resident community
  • Social atmosphere
  • Spaciousness
  • Appropriate level of rule enforcement
  • Value

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