Living in NYC: Guide to First Year Residence Halls

Moving to New York City is no small feat, especially when you're starting your college career at the same time. Here, you'll find tips and tricks to make the housing process as seamless as possible.

Rubin First Year Hall

You’ve done it!

You’re getting ready to embark on the college journey of a lifetime at one of New York University’s prestigious colleges. First and foremost: congratulations! This year’s applicant pool was the most competitive yet, so take a moment and be proud of yourself. Hooray! 

As soon as you press "accept" on your admissions decision, I can guess what your next few questions will be. 

  • Where will I live?
  • Does NYU even have dorms?
  • How do I pick my roommate?

Well friend, have no fear. This post serves as your one-stop shop for everything there is to know about housing during your first year on campus. We’ll be focusing on NYU New York, but if you’re heading to one of NYU’s other two degree-granting campuses, feel free to check out resources for NYU Shanghai here and NYU Abu Dhabi here.

The first step in this process is deciding whether or not to live on campus for your first year.

If you’re from the city or you’re particularly apartment-hunting savvy, off-campus housing is definitely an option. You are not required to live on campus at any time while studying at NYU. However, you will continue to be eligible for on-campus housing for all four years as long as you do not move off campus.

At the very least, I highly recommend living in one of NYU's residence halls for your first year.

If you’re not familiar with the city, if you’re looking for a true college experience, or just worried about building community in New York, the residence halls have your back. Each hall is equipped with both a director and an assistant director, who are full time employees of NYU. You’ll also have a residence hall assistant (RA), a third or fourth-year student who lives on your floor and will plan programming for the entire year. Typical events are things like kayaking on the Hudson/East River, going to see a Broadway show, attending a free workout class, among others! It’s a great way to get to know your roommate(s) as well as the others living on your floor.

Here comes the fun part: in your first year, roommates are assigned. But don’t fret—there’s a great program in place to ensure your first year in housing will be a successful one.

Once you commit to attending NYU, you’ll send in a housing deposit that secures your spot in one of ten first-year residence halls. Then, you’ll receive a housing survey in which you’ll answer simple questions. What time do you like to go to bed? How clean do you like to keep your room? Do you like to have friends over? (If you need certain accommodations while living in the residence halls, contact the Moses Center for Student Accessibility.)

You’ll then be asked to rank the halls from most preferable to least preferable. Most students get one of their top three choices. My biggest tip for this one: do your research!

Not every building has a dining hall, so if that’s important to you make sure you prioritize Lipton or Weinstein. If you’ll be spending a lot of time at Tisch, the closest halls are Weinstein, Goddard, and Brittany. Lipton is the newest, and Rubin doesn’t have air conditioning. But, I lived in Rubin during my first year, and absolutely loved it! Also, each hall comes with specific amenities. Rubin has a small black box theater, Weinstein has music practice rooms, Lipton has dance rooms, and the list goes on.  Everyone has different criteria for what they’re looking for. You can glance at all the residence halls here. They all have virtual tours as well, which I definitely recommend checking out!

Aside from the virtual tours, the individual pages have information about lower cost housing options. A lower cost option is typically a shared triple with one bathroom. They are a great way to still experience Res Life while keeping costs down!

I truly hope you enjoy living in housing as much as I did.

Know that whichever residence hall you end up calling home, you will be supported and taken care of. I would do anything to go back to Rubin and relive my housing experience.

Best of luck to you and welcome home!