Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about Undergraduate Housing that isn't on this list you should email our Freshman Housing Coordinators.

Housing Assignments

When is the housing contract due?

Freshman housing contracts need to be completed by Monday, June 2, 2014. Freshmen who do not submit the contract by the deadline can still contract for housing online, but the likelihood of an assignment to one of your listed housing preferences is substantially lower. 

When are you mailing out information regarding freshman housing, and the housing contract?

Residential Services does not mail out housing brochures, or housing contracts. An email will be sent to all entering freshmen informing them that the online housing contract is available. Everything that our entering freshmen need to complete the contracting process is linked from our freshman housing web page.

Are freshman housing assignments made on a 'first come, first served' basis? Do Early Decision admits get preference in housing assignments?

There is a distinct advantage to submitting your housing contract as early as possible. Students participate in an online room selection process, and the order is determined by when completed housing contracts are submitted.

You may update your housing contract as many times as you would like before 5:00pm on Monday, June 2, 2014, without affecting your contract submission order. In other words, you will not be penalized for updating or changing any of your preferences.

To update your housing/room preferences and/or submit your Residential College/Exclusive Use personal statements, please go to and click under the "Contracts and Building Preferences" link, click on either "Special Use Building Applications" or "Update Building Preferences."

Please note that if you have already submitted your housing contract, clicking on the link for "Step 1 - Create Application" will give the error message that your application is not available. This is because you have already created and submitted your housing contract. The system is designed to allow you to submit only one contract, although you may update it as many times as you would like prior to 5:00pm on Monday, June 2, 2014, without penalty.

Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants fill out the housing application at the same time, and we do not track whether you were an Early or Regular Decision student when making housing assignments.

I am an athlete. Do I need to fill out the online housing contract?

Yes. You cannot participate in the online room selection process until you have completed and submitted an online contract. There are no specific 'athlete' buildings, floors or rooms in housing. If you want to request a roommate, you must do so by indicating their name and NetID on the housing contract. Please consult the Northwestern Directory for assistance in determining this information.

How are the answers on my housing contract used to make my housing assignment?

As an admitted freshman, you are guaranteed a space on campus to live. There are many types of living communities at Northwestern. Since you will be participating in an online room selection process, you will choose the actual room for the coming academic year. If, for any reason, you do not participate in the online room selection process and Residential Services must assign you to a space on campus, your responses to the contract questions will help Residential Services better assign you to a community that offers you a rewarding undergraduate experience.

Residential Services cannot guarantee a specific type of assignment for a roommate, single-occupancy room, or a specific residence hall, even if requested.

How do I apply for a Residential College?

Residential Colleges are listed on the regular freshman housing contract, and freshmen apply for them by listing the Residential College or Colleges for which they wish to be considered. Students interested in a Residential College are required to submit a short personal statement as part of their housing contract.

You may submit your personal statement for the Residential College(s) for which you are applying by signing back into and under the "Contracts and Building Preferences" link, click on the "Special Use Building Applications" link. There you will see the personal statement questions and submit your responses.

If you are admitted to a Residential College, you will be informed of this. When the time comes to select a room online, you will see only available rooms for the Residential College to which you were admitted.

My friend and I want to be roommates - how can we make this request?

Prior to the start of the online room selection process, students will be issued priority numbers which determine the assignment order. The assignment schedule (available online in early July) will let students know when they may log in to select their rooms. Students may also choose their roommates. The student with the best priority number of the roommate pair is the "controlling" priority number.

Controlling priority numbers wishing to pull in roommates will need the NetIDs and roommate passwords (not University NetID passwords!) for those individuals to be pulled in. You will be able to create your roommate password by signing into the Student Web Self-Assignment beginning mid-June. Those with controlling priority numbers must have these passwords in order to pull in a roommate.

Those entering freshmen assigned to Residential Colleges wil not receive priority numbers.

With regard to Residential Colleges, each student must be admitted based on his/her own merits. Therefore, if you are hoping to room with someone who was not admitted to your Residential College, you may not pull that person in as your roommate into a Residential College.

Please inform Residential Services if the choice of roommate or assignment to a Residential College is of more importance to you.

When do I find out where I was assigned?

Students will be selecting their rooms for the 2014-15 school year online. It will be possible to search for available rooms. Any available room will be displayed for room selection. Rooms not visible are already assigned.

Once you complete the online room selection process in July, you will know to where you have been assigned. A confirmation email will be sent to your Northwestern email account during the first week of August with information regarding your online housing contract.

How can I find out which buildings are air conditioned/carpeted/co-ed/have suite style rooms/have food service in them?

Check the individual building descriptions on the Living@NU website to view a list of pertinent details for each building. You are responsible for deciding what amenities are important to you, and for reading over the building descriptions to find the building that will best suit your needs.

Can freshmen live in single or triple rooms?  What is the likelihood of being able to select a single or a triple room?

Most freshmen live in double rooms. However, since you will be choosing your own room, if a single or a triple room is available when you log in, you may select it. Keep in mind that there are very few single and triple rooms on campus, most of which are assigned to upperclassmen.

How can I find out which buildings have single rooms/double rooms/triple rooms?

Please visit our Residence Halls Description Page for a listing of the undergraduate living units.

Please note that although many of these buildings may have a mix of singles, doubles and triples, it doesn't mean that all room types listed for each building will be available in the pool of rooms available for freshmen and transfer applicants. Most of the single rooms in these buildings are already assigned to upperclassmen, unless otherwise noted.

Meal Plans

What do I need to know about meal plans?

Information about meal plans will be available later this summer. You can find out more information regarding dining on campus on the Dining Services web site. All freshmen living in on-campus housing have a 14-meal-a-week meal plan to start with, to insure that they can access the Dining halls immediately.

Housing Contracts

Will you be mailing my housing contract to me?

The housing contract is electronic, and the link to it is sent to you via your Northwestern email account. You sign it by entering your Student ID number where prompted on the contract, and clicking the submit button.


I have never shared a room before. What can I do to ensure we get along?

Chances are, your new roommate has also never shared a room before, either. We have some excellent information on living with a roommate.

Cooperation, communication, and flexibility are the key to a successful roommate relationship.

How do I find out who my roommate is?

If you did not select your own roommate(s) during the online room selection process, you may email the Freshmen Housing Coordinators for the name of your roommate(s).

How are roommates assigned?

If you did not select your own roommate(s), Residential Services will pair you with a roommate based upon the lifestyle preferences you submitted as part of your housing contract.

I do not have a roommate listed on my contract. Does that mean I am in a single room?

This means that you are either assigned to a single room, or assigned to a double room but a roommate has not yet been assigned. Please email the Freshman Housing Coordinators to find out whether you are in a single, or are in a double and have not been assigned a roommate yet.

How do I contact my roommate? Can I call Residential Services for information about my roommate?

Residential Services does not give out any information over the telephone or via email regarding Northwestern students unless they have authorized us to do so.

To find out how to contact your new roommate(s), please use the online directory system.

Type in the name of a Northwestern student, faculty member, or office and press the Query button to get contact information.

I looked someone up in the online directory and didn't get very much information about them. At the top of the page, it said this: "Northwestern students, faculty and staff: use the authenticated Web page to gain full access to directory information from off campus". Now what do I do?

Click the link to the authenticated webpage and enter your NetID and password (the same ones you use for your NU email) to get to more detailed information about the person you are looking up. Then, click the [more info] link next to their name.

Move-In Day

When do residence halls and residential colleges open for 2013-2014?

Freshmen can move in starting at 8:00 am on Monday, September 15, 2014. Upperclass students can return beginning on Friday, September 19, 2014.

Where can I find out information about Wildcat Welcome Week?

More information regarding Wildcat Welcome Week can be found on the New Student and Family Programs website.

I am participating in a Pre-Wildcat Welcome program. Can I move my belongings into my residence hall early and then participate in this program?

We do not have an early move-in option for students participating in these programs.

Please contact these programs directly to find out what arrangements have been made regarding what to do with your luggage and/or suggestions on what past participants have done while participating in these programs.

Can I move in early?

Select students who are deemed essential for the opening of the residence halls and residential colleges are permitted to check in early (specific information will be made available later).  Students not in one of these approved groups will not be permitted to move in early.


Do you have a list of suggested items that we bring to campus?

Please refer to the list of suggested items to pack.

Is there anything I can't bring with me?

Yes. Our list of suggested items to pack also includes a list of items that are prohibited in the residence halls.

How do I ship my belongings to campus?

If you'll be living in University housing and intend to ship some of your belongings before you arrive, please refer to the information on the Ship to Northwestern webpage for the process, important dates, and other useful information to ensure a smooth experience.

Rooms and Buildings

What are the exact dimensions of my room?

Because there are so many diverse housing options for students on campus, we are unable to offer exact room dimensions for specific rooms or buildings. We suggest that you look at the Residence Hall and College descriptions to see estimates for average room sizes in each building. We cannot give you exact room dimensions once you are able to identify your room number and building.

I anticipate getting a lot of "care packages" from home. What is my exact mailing address?

Your room number and the mailing address of your building are on your online housing contract. You can also refer to the residence hall and college descriptions for the preferred mail address format for each building. NOTE: all mail with zip code 60208 or "Northwestern University" will first be delivered to the campus mail center before arriving at the mailroom. This will significantly delay delivery. To ensure faster service, please be sure to address your letters as indicated on the specific building's page.

Where can I find more information about the building to which I was assigned?

You can find out more information about each building by reading descriptions of the residence halls and residential colleges, or, if you were assigned to a residential college, by visiting the residential college website.

Phone and Internet

Does my room come with Internet service?

Internet service is provided in every room. Each student has their own wired Ethernet connection. Additionally, all residence halls and colleges have wireless Internet access.

Please check with NUIT for more information.

Each room has one phone line.  The student must request and pay for phone service in their room.  For more information about phone services and charges please refer to NUIT's pages on the Student Telephone Service.

Is there television service in individual student rooms?

No, but most common lounges have television and cable provided.

Mail Services

Where do I pick up my mail?

Visit the Mail Services page for a complete list of all residence halls and residential colleges, and to see where each building gets mail and packages.

I live in a fraternity/sorority. What happens with my mail?

Unless you live in Phi Mu Alpha or Sigma Alpha Iota, the residence hall mailrooms do not handle fraternity or sorority mail. The individual fraternity and sorority houses are responsible for their residents' mail.

Can I buy stamps at the mailroom?

No, the mailrooms do not have stamps or other packaging/shipping supplies available. Norris sells stamps at the Cashier's Office.

Where is the post office?

The main post office is located at:
1101 Davis Street
Evanston, IL 60201

A smaller branch is located at:
1929 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60201

Where is the nearest FedEx/UPS?

FedEx packages may be dropped off at Kinko's located on the ground floor of Norris. Supplies and a scale are available to ship these packages. For additional tracking and shipping information, visit the FexEx website. Customer service may be reached at 1-800-Go-FedEx (1-800-463-3339).

The UPS Store is located at 1555 Sherman Ave, Evanston (847-869-3000). They have supplies and materials available as well. Additional information may be found when you visit the UPS website. For customer service, you can call 1-800-PICK-UPS (1-800-742-5877).

If I have moved, what happens with my mail?

You will receive your mail in the timeliest manner by updating your address directly with the respective companies/senders.  Please check with the mailroom to ensure that your information is updated. You can refer to the mail forwarding information for more details on providing updated address information.

If I have graduated, what happens with my mail?

Please update your address directly with the respective companies/senders. You can refer to the mail forwarding information for more details on providing updated address information.

Can I leave a package to be picked up in the mailroom?

If you are leaving a package for another student in that residence hall, then yes, please give it to the Mail Clerk on duty.

If you are leaving a package to be picked up or returned to an outside sender, then no, the mailrooms do not accept packages to be sent out. Please contact the carrier directly to arrange for a pickup when you are available in your room.

The mailroom is not open when it is supposed to be.

If a note is not posted, please email the Mailroom Manager with the date and time. Sometimes a mail clerk must miss a shift for unexpected reasons. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

There is a piece of mail in my mailbox that is not mine.

Please drop it off with the mail clerk on duty or slip it in the outgoing mail slot. Although we try to be as accurate as possible, we sort through many pieces of mail each day and mistakes may occur.

Something was sent to me overnight/express mail. Why did I not get it?

Unfortunately, overnight/express mail usually must be delivered in the morning when the mailrooms are generally not open. If you are not in your room, then the carrier does not leave the package. The carrier may try again later in the afternoon or the following day.

What if I have a complaint, compliment, concern, or suggestion?

You may contact your respective Mailroom Manager, or the Mailroom Coordinator. For the Mailroom Coordinator, please email Residential Life Mailroom Services.

How do I apply to be a Mail Clerk?

Most Mail Clerk positions are filled at the beginning of the year. You must be a work-study student. If you are interested, please contact your respective Mailroom Manager for more information or visit the Mail Clerk Application page.

I am interested in flyering all of the mailboxes on campus. How can I do this?

University Residential Life strongly discourages this method of advertising, as it is not effective, and recipients of bulk mailing either throw the advertisements away in the trash or on the floor outside of the mailrooms, at which point it is not fair to the housekeepers to clean them up. If you are interested in a limited bulk mailing, the best way to do this is to address each piece of mail to its intended recipient, bundle it in room order, and drop it in campus mail. All other bulk mailings not addressed to intended recipients must be approved 2 weeks in advance by the Mailroom Coordinator, and must be from a registered student group, be of appropriate content (not advertising any policy violations, for example), and have clearly designated contact information on the flyer itself.


I lost money in the washer/dryer. How do I get reimbursed?

For all concerns with laundry equipment, including lost money, please refer to our information on laundry services.

How can I see what machines are currently available in my building?

Visit the LaundryView webiste for the most up-to-date information on open washers/dryers in your building.


What happens if I am locked out of my room?

If you are locked out of your room, you should first try to contact your roommate. If your roommate is not available, go to the front desk assigned to your residential building (see list below) to receive a loaner key.  The first two lockouts of the academic year will be provided at no cost. Upon the third lockout, you will be charged for a lock change.

Allison Front Desk: 1835 Hinman, Allison, Chapin, EFC, Jones, PARC, Shepard, WFC, Willard

Foster-Walker Front Desk: 1856 Orrington, 626 Emerson, Foster-Walker, Hobart, NMQ, Rogers, SAI, Seabury, SWQ

Kemper Front Desk: 2303 Sheridan, Ayers, Bobb, Elder, Goodrich, Kemper, Lindgren, McCulloch, Sargent, Slivka

What happens if I lose my key?

If you lose your room key, we must change the lock, for which you will be charged $181.  Report lost keys to the front desk assigned to your residential building.

If my key broke will I be charged for it? And where do I go to have it fixed?

If you break your key, bring all pieces to the front desk assigned to your residential building. If you can return all pieces, there will be no charge. If you do not have all of the pieces, you may be charged for a new key/lock.


I have someone coming to visit and would like to rent a guest room. With whom can I speak?

Please contact the guest room coordinator at

Where can I rent a cot for guests staying in my room?

Contact Larita Blake at


I have a maintenance issue in my room/on my floor/in the building. To whom should I report the problem?

All non-emergency repair requests, including burned-out lightbulbs, should be submitted online via the SchoolDude work order system. When asked for a password, enter “wildcat.”

Who can I talk to about recurring issues in my room?

Please speak to your CA first. Your CA will then contact the appropriate person.


Where can I store my bike?

Students are prohibited from storing their bikes in their room.  A few residence halls or residential colleges have a bike room.  All buildings have ample outdoor bike racks. We also offer a bike storage program, where we will store a limited number of bikes during winter quarter.


I need to know when the halls open and close before and after each quarter in order to book my plane ticket. Where can I find that information?

Check the housing dates for information about opening and closing.

Can I stay in my room over Winter and Spring Break?

All students may stay in their room over Spring Break.

Winter Break Housing will be available only to International students assigned to Foster-Walker Houses 5-8. International students must indicate on their Housing Contract that they need Winter Break housing and will be assigned to a space in the Foster-Walker complex (Houses 5-8) for the academic year. If you are not an International student, your belongings can stay in your room, but you need to find another place to stay over Winter Break.

Undergraduate residence halls will close at 12:00 noon on Saturday, December 13, 2014, and reopen at noon on Saturday, January 3, 2015. Winter Break Housing is available Friday, December 12- Friday, January 2, 2015. Residents who participate in Winter Break Housing will be charged extra for housing and meal plan service. This charge will be placed on your student account. 

Can I stay in my room over Thanksgiving Break?

Yes, you can stay in your residence hall or residential college over Thanksgiving Break.

What size are the mattresses?

All mattresses on campus are 36" by 80". They are sometimes referred to as "twin extra-long" mattresses. Please refer to our list of things to bring for information on a program that the Residential Housing Association coordinates to help students find the right linens.

RA Selection

I'm a freshman. How do I register for Career Cat if I don't know my GPA yet?

You can enter a fake GPA for now, then when you get your grades later in the month, you can adjust your GPA on your account.