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Housing Preferences and Assignments for New Students

Students in White Residence Hall looking at a computer

 

Residential Living is excited to welcome you to Western Carolina University and our on campus residence halls.  On-campus living at WCU features sixteen (16) residential facilities with a variety of options to fit your specific housing needs.  Our staff - from Resident Assistants to our Executive Director - are all here to support and assist you in finding your community and growing personally and professionally.  We look forward to getting to know you and making Cullowhee your new home!

Below is some helpful information for students new to WCU and looking to find out more about on-campus housing.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to us at housingquestions@wcu.edu or call us at 828-227-7303.

On-campus living is an integral part of campus life.  The experience of living in the residence halls and the support of the staff provided by the Department of Residential Living enhance the intellectual, personal and social development of our students.  Accordingly, WCU requires new undergraduate students to live on campus in the residence hall for a specific period of time based on how a student is classified at enrollment.

In general terms, first-year students enrolling at WCU are required to live on campus for two academic years and new transfer students for one academic year.

For details, we encourage you to review WCU Policy 96 in full.  

Students subject to WCU Policy 96 who maintain their enrollment at WCU must either live on campus or receive a residency exemption.  

Residential Living identifies select buildings to house most students classified as first-time, full-time freshmen upon enrollment at WCU.  For the 2023 - 2024 academic year, these buildings are Albright/Benton Hall, Black Rock Hall, Harrill Hall, Shining Rock Hall and Water Rock Hall.  Students may live in any of these five buildings.  We encourage new first-year students to familiarize themselves with all of the buildings and preference multiple buildings.  Assignments are made based upon a combination of the date the enrollment deposit is paid and housing preferences.  These five buildings are substance fee and students living in these buildings may not be over 21 prior to the end of the Spring semester.

Members of the Brinson Honors College are eligible to live in Balsam Hall which houses exclusively members of the honors college.  Balsam Hall houses students of all classifications (first-year to Senior) and while space is held for new students after same room selection by continuing students, there may not be enough rooms to accommodate all first-year Honors students in Balsam Hall.  Therefore, students eligible to live in Balsam should have multiple preferences in their housing selections.

Honors students who wish to live with a non-Honors student can be accommodated in Blue Ridge Hall.  Blue Ridge Hall mirrors Balsam Hall and is connected to Balsam by a bridge on the fourth floor.  As with Balsam Hall, space in Blue Ridge may be limited, so students are encouraged to have multiple preferences.

All students living on campus in the residence halls are required to have a meal plan.  Students in their first year at Western Carolina University can choose from two meal plan options - The Unlimited Premium or the Unlimited Basic Meal Plan.  Please refer to the Catamount Dining pages for full details on student meal plans.

Western Carolina University is committed to providing equal access to housing for all students living on campus with qualifying disabilities. Toward this goal, WCU provides accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act, and other applicable laws.
Requests for a housing accommodation are reviewed and approved through the Office of Accessibility Resources (OARs).  Please refer to their Housing Accommodations page for information about the process and how you can submit your request.  Students should submit requests by the following dates:
Academic Year Assignments (Occupancy starting in Fall) - June 1
Spring Room Assignments (Occupancy starting in Spring) - November 1
Summer Housing - May 15

Residential Living strives to create welcoming and inclusive communities for our residential students.  Our office works with students on an individual basis to provide support and meet the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming studetns that live in the WCU Residence Halls.  Students should reach out to us early in the admissions process to discuss housing options.  Please contact us at housingquestions@wcu.edu or via phone at 828.227.7303.

All new, incoming students or re-admitted students are assigned by our Residential Operations staff.  Students will complete a Residence Hall Agreement and provide preferences for their meal plan, building(s) and room type(s) as well as their roommate.  This information is then utilized to match students to available space on campus.

Priority for matching students to their preferences for building and room type is determined by the date a student pays the enrollment deposit.  For named roommate pairs, the earliest deposit date will be used.

For regular academic year assignments (Fall admits), assignments are made in early July after the conclusion of all summer Orientation sessions.  Students are notified of their assignments in mid July via their catamount email.

For spring assignments (Spring admits), assignments are made in December after closing for the Fall semester.  Students are notified of their assignments in late December via their catamount email.

Once you have paid the Enrollment Deposit, you will have access to complete your Residence Hall Agreement.  You do not need to pay any additonal deposit to secure on campus housing.  See the term of your admission in the next two tabs for the dates the Residence Hall Agreement will be available to you.  A Residence Hall Agreement is the official agreement between you and the Department of Residential Living.  It is also how you will indicate your preferences and obtain your housing assignment.  

Once you have paid your enrollment deposit after the date indicated below, log into the Housing Portal using your WCU credentials.  Your username will be everything before the @ symbol in your email address and the password is the same as your email password.  Once logged in, click on Contract & Application Preferences.  Read through the agreement in its entirety.  Once you understand everything, complete the agreement by ticking the necessary boxes and providing your electronic signature.  Keep in mind that this is a binding agreement between you and the Department of Residential Living.  

Once your Residence Hall Agreement has been processed by our staff, you will receive another email asking you to log in and complete your preferences.  This is your chance to indicate preferences for your meal plan,  building(s), room type(s) and roommate characteristics or to name a specific roommate.  Preferences not completed prior to the stated deadline will not be considered and those without meal plan preferences will be assigned the default meal plan.

  • November 1 - Housing Accommodation Request Priority Deadline
    • This is the priority deadline to submit your request for a medical accommodation or Emotional Support Animal (ESA). 
  • December 1 - Housing Cancellation Request Deadline
    • This is the deadline to cancel your completed residence hall agreement for Spring semester without incurring the Housing Cancellation Fee.
  • December 19 - Preferences Close
    • This is the last date to complete preferences for your meal plan, building(s) and roommate.
  • By December 22 - Housing Assignment Sent
    • Your housing assignment will be sent to your Catamount email address.
  • March 1 - Residence Hall Agreement Opens
    • The Residence Hall Agreement will be available for you to complete starting March 1.
  • June 1 - Housing Cancellation Deadline
    • This is the deadline to cancel your completed residence hall agreement for Fall semester without incurring the Housing Cancellation Fee.
  • June 1 - Housing Accommodation Request Priority Deadline
      • This is the priority deadline to submit your request for a medical accommodation or Emotional Support Animal (ESA). 
  • July 3 - Preferences Close
      • This is the last date to complete preferences for your meal plan, building(s) and roommate.
  • By July 12 - Housing Assignment Sent
      • Your housing assignment will be sent to your Catamount email address.

What if I don't have a preferred roommate?
Most students don't have a preferred roommate and will be matched with a roommate using our roommate matching questions.  It is important to answer those questions honestly to be matched with a roommate who has similar habits and expectations of their living environment.

Am I guaranteed one of the building/room types that I preference?
You are not guaranteed one of the building/room types that you preference.  They are preferences.  Housing assignments for new, incoming students are made based on a variety of factors including affiliation with a learning community (including the Honors College), room-mate preferences, and the date the enrollment deposit is paid.  If the building/room type you have preferenced is not available then you will be assigned to another building or room type.  This is why it is important to list a variety of options in your preferences.

What if I don't like my room assignment?
Residential LIving at WCU has an open room change policy during the regular academic year.  As space permits, residents are able to request a room change for any reason starting one week after the first week of classes each semester.  An email will be sent to all students notifying them of the room change process.  Requests can be submitted until the Monday of the last week of classes each semester.  
Please note that students who are housed in buildings identified as first-year buildings are only permitted to make room changes within and between those halls.

Can I get a private room?
Most first-year students will live in double occupancy rooms with a roommate.  The first-year buildings like Albright/Benton, Black Rock, Shining Rock, and Water Rock do not have private room options available for students to preference.

What if I don't get along with my roommate?
Learning to live with another person, to acknowledge and respect each others differences, and to allow one another the space to grow are some of the most valuable parts of the residential experience. Sharing a room with another person is similar to any other relationship; to be successful it requires openness, flexibility, and respect. Right from the beginning, it is very important to communicate openly with your roommate.  We encourage you to make every effort to forge a successful relationship with your roommate.  If you have tried to communicate with them and still feel it will not be a good match for you, you can contact your Resident Assistant or Area Coordinator to talk about your options.

Can I change my meal plan?
Students can change their meal plan through the end of the first week of classes. 

Are there single gender housing options available?
Residential Living does not offer buildings that are single gender.  There are floors in some buildings (Albright, Benton, Buchanan) that are single gender.

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