Assignments FAQ

Q: How do I apply for housing?

A: First-year students may submit Housing Preference Request Form online at the beginning of April by logging onto using the PIN sent by the Admissions Office. The “My Housing” link will appear after they have accepted their admission to the University of Pennsylvania. (Students who lost their usernames may e-mail with a request for a new username and password.) Students will have the opportunity to apply for Residential Programs, select their College House and room type preferences, request a roommate, and identify any medical needs that require special accommodations. Forms received by May 2 are processed in the first round of assignments. Forms received May 3 - June 29 are processed in date order after those received by May 2. After June 29, Request forms are no longer available and students will be placed in any available space...

Transfer students may submit Housing Preference Request Forms online at by logging in and using the PIN sent by the Admissions Office. The link to "My Housing" will appear after students accept their admission to the University. Forms must be submitted by June 15 in order to be processed in the first round of assignments. The Housing Preference Request Form will be available through June 28.

Upperclass students who did not participate in the room selection process may apply at MyHomeAtPenn. Information is available on the Residential Services web site.

New graduate students may complete and submit an application online at MyHomeAtPenn.

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Q: What is a Residential Program? How many freshmen live in Residential Programs?

A: A Residential Program is a smaller theme-based community within a College House. Most Houses have multiple programs. They range in size from 10-85 students. Refer to the Residential Program web site or College House brochure for more information.  Approximately 700 freshmen live in Residential Programs.

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Q: How are students assigned rooms?

A: Freshmen:
With the exception of those applying to live in a Residential Program, freshmen who submit housing preferences by the deadline are assigned via a computerized lottery process. The program attempts to place students in one of their preferences. If no space is available that matches a student’s preferences, then s/he will be placed in any available room. Approximately 80% of students applying by May 2 received one of their top three choices. While student requests are considered if the form is submitted after the deadline, assignments will be made based on availability.  If no form is submitted by June 29, a student will be assigned to any available space.

Students applying to a Residential Program are accepted and placed into programs by the College House Deans.

The room selection process begins early in the spring semester. Students returning to their same College House have priority over students changing Houses. While housing is not guaranteed, space is generally available on-campus if students are flexible in their room type choices. It is not uncommon for some students to be placed on a waitlist and accommodated throughout the summer.

Transfer Students:
Transfer students submitting their Housing Preference Request Form by June 15 are assigned in the first round.  Assignments will be posted on or after July 15 on Campus Express. While preferences are considered, they cannot be guaranteed because of limited availability.  Anyone not submitting a request form by June 28 will be assigned to any available space.  

Graduate Students:
Returning graduate students may reserve their rooms during a specified time in the spring semester. New graduate students are assigned on a rolling basis beginning in April. Early application is advised to increase their chances of securing their preferred room type.

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Q: Does it matter which room I am assigned to within a suite?

A: Yes, it does! Students must be assigned to specific bedrooms within multiple-bedroom suites and apartments. Students will not have access to bedrooms other than the one assigned to them. This is particularly important for students considering room types that include both private and shared bedrooms, so please plan ahead!

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Q: How are roommates assigned?

A: Students may request roommates. For freshmen, one roommate makes the request and the other roommate must approve the request. If there is no request, roommates are matched to other students with similar roommate and room preferences, whenever possible.

Transfer and exchange students can list a specific roommate on their application. The Housing Assignments Office tries to place requested roommates together whenever possible.

Upperclass students going through the room selection process choose roommates by forming a group.

Graduate students can request a specific roommate on the housing application and can request to live in a Special Interest Community with students in the same concentration.

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Q: What if I don’t get along with my roommate?

A: Learning to live with someone who is different from you is part of the college experience. Open communication, understanding, and compromise are important in facilitating a good roommate relationship. If you need assistance working through a roommate problem, contact your RA or GA.

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Q: Can freshmen request more than one roommate? The application only has space for one.

A: Although some room types provide for more than one roommate, the application allows for only one roommate request in order to encourage freshmen to meet new students.

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Q: How do I know if I received housing?

A: During the summer, housing assignments are posted on Campus Express. Freshmen who submit housing preference forms by May 2 can view their assignment after June 9. Transfer and Exchange students who submit housing preference forms by June 15 can view their assignment on or after July 15.  Other assignments are made on a rolling basis.  Students are notified via email when when they are available. Students need their PennKey and password to log into Campus Express.

For the spring semester, assignments are available at MyHomeAtPenn. See the Assignment Details step to view your housing assignment.

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Q: How do I log in to Campus Express?

A: You will need a PennKey and password to log in. Once you are officially a Penn student, you will be sent a PennKey set up code so that you can create your PennKey and password. For most freshmen, this information is sent by the end of May. For other students, this information is sent after you accept your offer of admission and you are entered in the Student Registration System (SRS). If you did not receive your PennKey set up code, or are having trouble logging in, send an email to

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Q: Why didn't I get one of my room choices?

A: Freshmen, transfer and exchange students are assigned to one of their requests if available. If none are available, students are placed in any available room in order to ensure that housing is provided. Upperclassmen and graduate students will only be assigned if one of their requests is available.

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Q: Can I be placed on a waiting list for a different room if I didn’t get one of my preferences?

A: Undergraduate students with housing assignments may submit a request to change rooms by going to Requests are limited to one per student. If a student’s request can be met, they will be contacted at their Penn email address and must confirm the change within 48 business hours. All requests will expire on August 1. Check for updates!

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Q: Do I need to confirm my housing?

A: Yes. Freshmen, transfers, exchange students, LPS students, new graduate students, and returning students who did not go through the room selection process must confirm their housing on Campus Express. If you cannot log into Campus Express, you may send an email to If you are a current Penn undergraduate assigned after room selection, a new graduate student or an LPS student, and do not confirm, your room assignment will be cancelled, you will be charged a cancellation fee, and the space will be reassigned to another student.

Freshmen, transfer, and exchange students should cancel their housing if they are not attending the University.  Others may cancel prior to occupancy for any reason, but they will be charged a cancellation fee which escalates as the summer progresses.

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Q: Can I change my room assignment?

A: Room changes are made only during scheduled periods throughout the year. Information and specific dates are provided on our web site under Room Change Information and on posted announcements. If you feel you need a change for a special reason at a time other that the room change period, you should discuss the matter with your House Dean.

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Q: Can I see my room in advance?

A: Due to summer conferences and maintenance work, we are unable to show undergraduate rooms in advance.

Graduate students interested in living in Sansom Place can see a representative room. Contact the Housing Assignments Office at to make a reservation for a Sansom tour.

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Q: What are the dimensions of my room?

A: Most floor plans are available under Housing Options and at Campus Express. Diagrams may not be exact and are only meant as a general guide.

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Q: Am I guaranteed a room?

A: Freshmen, transfer and exchange students are required to live on campus and are guaranteed housing.  Upperclassmen and graduate students are not guaranteed housing, but generally space is available for those who are flexible in their housing choices.

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Q: Are any rooms co-ed?

A: Unless otherwise requested, all rooms are designated as single-sex. However, students may apply for and be assigned to gender neutral housing. If you are under 18 years of age written parental permission must be provided in order to for your request to be considered. Gender Neutral room assignments will be made without regard to gender or sex assigned at birth. Please refer to the Gender Neutral policy for details.

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Q: Are all bathrooms co-ed?

A: No. The gender of the bathroom (male/female/co-ed) is either predesignated or designated by the students on the floor at the beginning of the fall semester.

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Q: Must I have the same room assignment for all four years?

A: No. In early spring, room selection begins for the following year.

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Q: What does my room look like?

A: Typical room diagrams are under layouts & floor plans in the Housing Options section of our website. These diagrams are meant to give you a general idea of your room dimensions and layout. Individual rooms may vary.

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Q: Can I cancel my housing assignment?

A: Prior to occupancy, returning upperclass students and graduate students may cancel their room assignment but you will be charged a cancellation fee which escalates throughout the summer. The charge is based on the date that the cancellation request is submitted through MyHomeAtPenn. Once a resident takes occupancy or picks up keys, the agreement cannot be cancelled.

Freshmen, transfer and exchange students are required to live on campus and may only cancel if they are no longer planning to attend the University.

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Q: Am I charged a housing cancellation fee if I am not attending Penn?

A:If you are a freshmen, transfer, exchange, or new graduate student and your plans to attend Penn change prior to occupancy, you will not be charged a cancellation fee.

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Q: When will I get a rent bill?

A: Rent will be posted on your SFS bill. For the Fall semester, the first bill is sent by early July. For the Spring semester, the bill is available in early December.

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