How to Apply for Housing: New Students

Congratulations on your achievements, Golden Bear! For students applying for housing the first time, it’s helpful to understand the application process, so please review the steps below to ensure you’re informed about important details. When you’re prepped and ready, you can apply through our Housing Application portal. We look forward to welcoming you to campus!

Important Note: When you apply for campus housing, you must meet the deadlines. Residence Hall application and contract offer deadlines are strictly enforced. 

  • If you miss your deadline to apply, there is no guarantee that we will be able to offer you a space. 
  • If you miss your deadline to accept your contract offer, there is no guarantee that we will be able to send you another offer. 
  • Late applicants and students who miss their contract deadlines will be added to a wait list, to be assisted as space allows. 

Please note that you'll be assessed a nonrefundable $40 processing fee for Residence Hall applications.

Application Tip: Always choose “any room size, any location” as the fifth choice on your application to ensure you’re considered for all contract offers.

Note: Cal Housing normally ensures priority housing consideration for new incoming students, but it is not possible to fully predict how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect operations in student housing and residential life for Academic Year 2021⁠–2022. Consequently, we cannot guarantee housing priority for new incoming students at this time, but we are committed to supporting students if they want to live on or near campus. 

Housing Application Phase 1
1. Accept your offer of Admission and create your CalNet ID.​

New students (undergraduate and graduate) must enroll and create their Berkeley campus identification (CalNet ID) before they can access the housing application portal. For undergraduates, this process is handled through CalCentral.

It may take a few days for your CalNet ID to activate; after it does you will be able to log into the Housing Application portal.

2. Update your student records and select your application term.

Log into the housing application portal and complete your student record profile. In this section you should give us your phone number, alternate email address, self-identify your gender if you wish. We encourage you to create a Web Screen Name, for use in identifying friends to add to your roommate group in the roommate request process.

Select the application term that corresponds to the application you are hoping to submit.  For new admits looking for housing in the university residence halls and undergrad apartments, use the “Residence Hall” term.

3. Indicate your housing choices, including “any room size, any location” as a preference.

You’ll have five choices on your housing application, but be flexible in your options! Newly admitted students must indicate “any room size, any location” as a preference to ensure their housing priority is not voided. You can make the “any room size, any location” your fifth choice.  Students who do not indicate “any room size, any location” jeopardize their housing priority.

4. Be prepared to submit an essay if you want theme housing.

Newly admitted undergraduates may select up to three theme programs and will need to submit a short essay (up to 500 words) to apply for each, explaining why they want to participate in theme housing. Transfer students may also apply for the Transfer Living and Learning Community. Be sure to review each theme program’s requirements and expectations.

5. Indicate Any ADA Accommodations or Identity-Based Needs

Students needing a specific living environment related to a disability, religious or cultural request, or gender identity may request these on their housing application and provide additional information to our office about their needs using the Accommodations Process.

6. Submit a roommate profile.

Within the Housing application, you’ll be asked to answer questions that will help match you with a suitable roommate. You also may request roommates by creating a roommate group.  The group leader will need to look up and invite each student using the Student Identification (SID) number.  Each person will need to confirm their membership in the roommate group for our office to review their request.  We try our best to honor roommate requests, but are sometimes unable to do so. We recommend all members of the roommate group have identical housing preferences to maximize the chance of being placed together.

7. Submit your application by the deadline and wait for your offer!

The final step in submitting your application is paying the non-refundable $40 application fee.  Once complete, be sure to click “Submit Application” to get to the last page of Phase 1 of the application, the holding page. After your application is submitted, Housing will process and extend an offer that you will view and accept through the housing portal.

Housing Application Phase 2
1. Review and Accept Housing Offer

Housing offers are sent via email to students three to four weeks after they’ve submitted the first phase of the application. Review the housing location and room type you have been assigned to, and indicate whether you wish to accept or decline the offer provided.  Declining the offer is your indication that you are not interested in on campus housing, and you will be asked to provide a reason. If you accept the offer, in order to reserve your housing assignment you must continue onward and complete the next steps of Phase 2 of the application, as outlined below.

2. Choose a Meal Plan

If your housing assignment includes a residential meal plan, you will need to select the meal plan you are interested in.  All Residence Hall rooms include the basic Blue Residential meal plan, with options to upgrade.

3. Provide Emergency Contact and Student Privacy Releases

Provide Cal Housing contacts in the case of emergency.  Optionally, you also may authorize family members or friends to receive access to billing and housing information.

4. Review and Accept the Housing Contract Terms and Conditions

Be sure to thoroughly review and accept the terms of your housing contract to ensure you understand the agreement you are entering into with the university.  You also may be asked to review supplemental documents here related to your particular housing assignment.

5. Pay the Advanced Payment

An advanced payment of $300 is required to complete the housing application and reserve your space on campus.  Financial Aid recipients can contact the Cal Housing office to request for a portion of this fee to be deferred until FinAid becomes available to them.