The main benefit to living in school housing is that you won’t have to deal with the whole NYC rental scene. Other benefits include relatively cheap rent (with no broker fees), ability to sub-lease in the summer, and close proximity to campus. Cons are that school housing can be very hit or miss – many units are very old and not in ideal condition, some are very small and you might end up with less than ideal roommates (people who you would have not chosen to live with if you had a choice).
Prioritization of university housing approvals is based on an applicant’s distance from New York City and on the timely submission of a housing application. If, for example, you are living in New York, you will be given lower priority, as you presumably have other resources to call on. Similarly, an applicant who is working abroad or outside of the area but is originally from New York or New Jersey may be less likely to receive housing. (Last year – for example, student housing was granted to students from as far a way as Australia and as nearby as Ohio…but each year is different.)
Any applicant who is not approved for housing will be automatically placed on the housing wait list, which is managed wholly by the UAH office. Students receive waitlist numbers based on student status (new or continuing) and the date the application was received by the UAH office. Housing is not guaranteed for those on the waitlist.
Housing approvals begin in April and continue through July. In order to monitor the progress of your application, you may call the UAH automated phone system (1-877-288-4196 within the U.S.; 1-212-854-1616 internationally) using the pin number and user ID which will be assigned to you at the time of your application.
IMPORTANT: You will only have 7 days to accept your university offer and pay your deposit via credit card, so it is very important that you check your email at least once a week. If you are not able to do so, you should make arrangements for someone (a family member or friend) to check your email and act on your behalf.
Living off campus has the drawbacks of cost and actually finding a place, but you get to choose the area you live in and you get what you pay for in terms of size, facilities and convenience. Check out the ‘Finding a Place to Live’ section for links / advice on how to find non-university housing in NYC.