Applying to Residence: First Year Students


Housing & Conference Services reserves the majority of bed spaces for First Year students coming directly from high school. All applications to residence must be submitted online. Before you apply, please ensure you read the application process described below for important information and dates. You must also read the Residence Agreement Contract before submitting your application.


  • Residence is not guaranteed to all first-year students.
  • Those accepted to McMaster who meet the Residence Admission cut-off of 83.5% for 2018-19 are guaranteed a residence space provided they meet the application and deposit deadlines.
  • An offer of residence accompanies your offer of admission to the University.
  • Guaranteed students must submit an online application with a $600 residence deposit by the deadline of June 1st, 2018 at 4:00 pm EDT.
  • Room type preferences listed on the online application are considered in the lottery process but are not guaranteed. An explanation of the lottery process can be found here.
  • Most first-year students will live in double rooms and bunk & loft/triple rooms with a roommate(s).
  • Students answer profile questions as part of the online application to be matched with roommate(s).

Residence Fees

Click here for a complete listing of room types and room fees.
Room fees do not include Meal Plan fees or the Residence Life Activity Fee.

Meal Plans

  • The Department of Hospitality Services requires all residence students to purchase a Meal Plan.
  • Students living in traditional residences must purchase a Group A full meal plan. Students living in Bates and Mary E. Keyes Residence may select either the Group A full meal plan or the Group B reduced plans.
  • If you have listed an apartment or suite room type as a preference but are assigned a traditional building, your plan will be changed to the corresponding Group A full meal plan.
  • Hospitality Services may accommodate most dietary needs. If you have specific dietary needs, please ensure you indicate this information on the Residence Accommodation section of the online application. Please also contact Hospitality Services (Ext. 24422) to discuss your Specific Dietary needs. For further information see the Hospitality web-page.  Meal Plan Information – Click here!

What happens if I’m not guaranteed?

First-year students who do not receive a guarantee are welcome to apply to the waiting list and are not required to make a deposit until contacted and instructed to do so.
Applications for the waiting list received prior to the application deadline:
  • Non-guaranteed students applying to residence before the application deadline will be placed in a lottery to determine the waiting list order.
  • Students who have met the application deadline will be notified of their waiting list position one week after the residence application deadline.
Applications for the waiting list received after the application deadline:
  • Applications received after the deadline will be ordered on the waiting list according to date and time the application is received.
  • For all students applying after the deadline, waiting list positions will be posted within 5 business days.
How to view your waitlist number:

What are the chances of getting an offer for residence?

This is difficult to predict as an offer can only be made when spaces become available. There is no way to determine the timing of cancellations/withdrawals. What other options do I have? We encourage waitlist students to look at all options for housing and suggest you visit the Off-Campus Resource Centre to find out more about accommodations in the local community.

Cancellation and Withdrawal Policy

Students with guaranteed residence who cancel their application online must do so by the refund cancellation deadline to qualify for a partial deposit refund of $300.

Roommate Requests for First Year Students

  • We guarantee one roommate request if:
    • both students have guaranteed residence offers.
    • met the residence application and deposit deadline (dates).
    • requested each other as roommates on their online application and,
    • ranked their profile responses and room type preferences identically
  • A valid roommate request WILL over-ride requests for single bed-space room types.
  • Groups of three or four students wishing to live together in a bunk and loft triple, triple or quad room only may contact Residence Admissions for further information
    Please Note: This option does not extend to the apartment or suite-style accommodations

December Break Stay

It may seem early to be thinking about your December Break plans, but if you are unable to leave residence or travel home for the winter break holiday, there is an option to request to stay over the December break at an additional cost. Please indicate on your residence application under the December Break section, that you would like to apply for this option.
When residence room assignments are released in the summer, this will indicate whether you have been approved for a December break stay and we recommend you make plans accordingly.
If you do not indicate this on the residence application, you will be responsible for leaving residence by 12 pm the day after your last December exam. You do not have to take all your belongings at this time, but you won’t be allowed back into the building until the re-open date in January.

Moving Into Residence

While you are not probably thinking about move-in yet, check out the important dates calendar find out when move-in weekend begins!
  • No early move in is permitted.
  • Complete move in information is sent to all students in late August by email.
  • Packing Tips can be found here (PDF).

Residence Portal

You will be redirected to the McMaster University Residence Portal. In order to apply, you will need to login with your macid.