New Student FAQ

Frequently asked questions for incoming new students for the 2023-2024 academic year. Please carefully review these FAQ as they should answer many of your questions. These FAQs will be continuously updated throughout the summer.

Last updated on April 10, 2023


1. General FAQ
2. Housing Selection FAQ
3. Selecting Housing as a Group FAQ
4. Residence Hall FAQ
5. Move In FAQ
6. Preparing to Move In, What to Bring FAQ
7. Meals FAQ
8. Transfer Student FAQ

General FAQ

Am I required to live on campus as a first year student? What if I want to live off campus?

RISD has a two year live on requirement for all students. Living on campus during your first two years of college has numerous positive benefits, including better academic and social success.

First year students who are older than 21, married, or have a permanent address within a certain distance of RISD may request a residency waiver. Click here to learn more.

Can I move off campus after a semester?

No. All first year and sophomore students are required to live on campus. Your housing and dining lease you sign is also for an entire academic year.

What is a housing and dining license?

It is your agreement of responsibility for the academic year when you live on campus. It outlines fees, policies, refunds, etc and is binding for the academic year. It is similar to an off campus apartment lease. You are held responsible for it throughout the academic year and we highly encourage you to read it. Click here to read the license.

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Housing Selection FAQ

When will I receive my timeslot? And when will I be able to select housing?

Click here for the housing selection timeline for new first year students.

Incoming graduate students will receive information about housing selection in May 2023.

Do I get to select my own roommate or are roommates randomly assigned?

New students are able to select their own roommates. Roommates can be found and selected on the Housing Portal, which incoming students will have access to beginning on May 3. For more information about roommates and how to find a roommate, click here.

If you do not select a roommate, the other bed space available in that room will be available for someone else to select during their timeslot.

Are there single rooms available for first year students?

Yes! All of our first year residence halls have single rooms available. Single rooms are extremely limited in number. Most first year rooms are doubles and triples. It is not guaranteed that you will receive a single room.

If you have a medical accommodation need for a single, please click here to review our medical accommodation process.

Please note that the guaranteed single option is not available to incoming first year students.

Can I live with a sophomore or junior?

No. All first year students live with other first year students.

Is there a cost difference between residence halls? What about rooms?

There is no cost difference between residence halls. However, there is a cost difference between a single and a double and triple. Click here to view room rates.

Am I able to select my own room?

Yes, all first year students select their own rooms.

I cannot find a roommate, will I just be randomly assigned to a room?

No – you will select your room. You can select from any available bedspace.

I selected a completely open double by myself. Will I get a roommate?

Yes. Any other first year student can select that available bedspace.

Does Residence Life match our roommates based on compatibility?

No. Residence Life does not place first year students, rather you select your own room. When looking at available rooms, you can see how much of a match you are with your a student that’s currently assigned to the space.

Which residence halls have co-ed floors, single gender floors, gender informed floors, etc.?

All of our residence halls are gender inclusive, meaning that all genders live on the floors together, but their roommate will be the same gender as them. Based on interest, we anticipate having gender informed (meaning any gender can live with any gender as a roommate) and single gender floor options throughout the First Year Area.

Are my housing options limited if I select single gender, gender informed, co-ed, etc. floors?

Yes. Whichever you select is what you will see when you go to select housing. For example, if you denote you want a single gender floor, you will only be able to see and select from single gender floors. You are able to change this at any time under your mandatory profile on the Housing Portal.

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Selecting Housing as a Group FAQ

What is a group?

A group is comprised of others you would want as a roommate. For example, if you want to live in a double, you would create a group with one other person; if you want to live in a triple, you would create a group with two other people. A group is only for one room and cannot be made to fill multiple rooms.

How many people should be in my group?

The room type with the most people in first year housing is a triple. Thus, a group should not be larger than 3 people, otherwise you will need to split up your group.

I found a roommate, how do I go about creating a group with them?
  1. You and your roommate will both need to sign the housing license by May 31.
  2. Once you’ve both signed it, you will create a group and add each other to the group. Please make sure to verify your group.
  3. Whomever has the earliest timeslot will want to be the group leader. The group leader will then select your room and place you into it. You can change the group leader at anytime.
Can I create a large group and we all select rooms next to each other at the same time? For example, if I create a group of 8, would we be able to, as a group, select 4 doubles next to each other?

No. A group is ONLY for one room. You should be creating a group as roommates. You will not be able to select rooms next to each other as a group.

Who selects the room in a group?

The group leader will select the room and place everyone into their bed spaces. The group leader can be changed at any time. We recommend that the individual in the group with the earliest timeslot be made the group leader.

My group leader placed me in a room. Do I need to go select that room at my timeslot?


I cannot find my roommate in the portal. Why not?

If you cannot find your roommate in the portal, they most likely have not completed the housing and dining license. Students can only be viewable in the search once they’ve completed the housing and dining license.

Can I leave the group?

Yes, you or other group members can leave the group at any time. We HIGHLY recommend having open and honest conversations with those in your group. It’s likely your group members are counting on you being in the group to secure a room they want. If you, or a group member leaves, you’re directly impacting the other group members.

NOTE: If you leave a group, or your group decides to split up, you will select housing at your individual timeslot.

My roommate left my group at the last minute. What do I do?

This happens sometimes. You have two options: 1) find another roommate and create a group, or 2) select an available room on your own.

Can I choose to live next to a friend as a neighbor, but in different rooms?

Yes, if a room is available next to your friend you can select it. If you created a group, you won’t be able to do this as a group can only select one room. Thus, you would need to break your group and select separately. If you leave your group, you will select housing at your individual timeslot, not at the group timeslot.

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Residence Hall FAQ

Is there a cost difference between residence halls?

No, there is not. There is only a cost difference between room types.

What are the restrooms like? Are there any single occupancy restrooms? What about private restrooms in a room?

Multi-stall Restrooms: These are communal, gender inclusive restrooms that are shared among everyone on the floor. The stalls have mostly floor to ceiling partitions with locking doors. These are located on every floor in Homer, Nickerson, and North Halls.

Single Occupancy Restrooms: These are restrooms that only one individual can use at a time. All of these are gender inclusive and also contain a shower. Anyone on the floor can use this restroom. These are located on every floor in Homer, Nickerson, and North Halls. This is the only restroom type in East Hall.

Private Restrooms: No first year rooms have a private restroom.

What is an ADA Double and a COM Double?

ADA double means the room is configured for wheelchair use including side approach closets, etc.  The COM denotation means the room has enhanced fire safety features for students with visual and/or hearing impairments.

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Move In FAQ

Move in day is Sunday, September 3, 2023. This is the earliest students may move in. This is also when Orientation begins, thus all first year students must arrive no later than this date.

International students: Incoming new international students will move in on Thursday, August 31.

Move in details are being finalized and will be announced later in the summer. This will include information on move in times, early arrivals, pre-orientation program arrivals, vaccinations, quarantine, and more. Please keep an eye out on your email.

Can I move my belongings in before move in day?

No. Residence Life and Facilities will be busy cleaning and prepping rooms and the residence halls. The earliest you can move items into your room is during your move in day.

Can I arrive 1-2 weeks early?

In general, no. The residence halls are not fully staffed and ready that early. RISD is finalizing information about vaccines and international students and this information will be released later this summer.

Can my family, parents, and/or friends spend the night in my room when they move me in?

No. Currently, due to COVID guidelines, no non-RISD students may be a guest in the residence halls. Do note that if these guidelines change, parents/families/friends would still not be permitted to stay in the residence hall during move in.

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Preparing to Move In, What to Bring FAQ

What comes in a room? And what should I bring?

Click here to view a list of what comes in rooms and what to consider bringing.

What should I not bring/what is not permitted in the residence halls?

Please click here to view a list of what to bring and what not to bring.

Click here to review our Health and Safety Policies, which includes additional details on what is not permitted in residence halls.

Additional things NOT to bring:

  • Microwave (provided in room already – no additional microwaves are allowed for fire safety reasons)
  • Large refrigerators (microfridge provided in room)
  • Pets (approved ESA and service animals only; click here for our pet policy)
  • Candles and incense
  • Halogen or lava lamps
  • Cooking appliances such as a toaster, toaster oven, popcorn popper, or anything with a heating coil. A coffee maker is OK.
  • Curtains, large tapestries, wall hangings
  • Paper lanterns
  • Weapons of any kinds
  • Any open flame device
  • Space heaters
  • Air conditioners
  • Anything that hangs from a ceiling
How much does it cost to rent a microfridge?

All first year rooms come with a microfridge and microwave unit, free of charge. This is to be shared among all occupants of the rooms.

Can I mail things ahead of time? If so, where do I mail them?
  • Mailing Instructions (coming soon!)
  • Package Slip (coming soon!)

If you have any questions about mailing items or your mailbox, please reach out directly to the RISD Mailroom.

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Meals FAQ

All rooms on campus come with a meal allotment. First Year students receive the following: 1) Unlimited access to The Met, 2) 5 Café Credits/week, 3) 225 Dining Points, 4) a one-time $50 RISDbucks credit, 5) 3 guest meal credits/semester.

What is The Met?

The Met is RISD’s all you can eat dining facility. Open for all three meals, student simply swipe in and can get as much food as they’d like. They provide a variety of options, including vegetarian and vegan food.

I have a food allergy. Is there someone I can talk to?

Absolutely! Dining is more than happy to meet with any student with allergies and help them navigate food options within the Met. Please contact Maureen Young.

Are dining facilities open during breaks and holidays?

Dining is open during the following breaks: 1) Thanksgiving, 2) Wintersession Break (between Wintersession and Spring Semester), and 3) Spring break.

Dining is not available during winter break. RISD closes during the winter break. Any student remaining on campus during this break would be required to provide their own meals.

What are RISDbucks?

RISDbucks is essentially a preloaded, prepaid credit that you can easily use on campus. You can add RISDbucks to your account at anytime. You can use them to buy items from the vending machines, to do your laundry, buy supplies from the RISD store, grab a snack from dining venues, and some local stores even accept them.

What is a CAFé credit?

All first year students receive 5 Café Credits per week to use at any other dining venue outside of the Met EXCEPT Carr House. This means that you can go to any of the other dining venues and swipe for a meal. For example, let’s say you are in studio and you don’t feel like walking to the Met, but Portfolio is across the street. You can use 1 of your weekly Café Credits that day at the Portfolio instead.

What are the various dining venues on campus?
  • The Met: all you can eat dining venue located in the First Year Area
  • Portfolio: Located in 15 West
  • Jolly Roger: Located on South Main Street, a deli
  • Watermark Cafe: A grab ‘n’ go cafe located in the RISD Store

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Transfer Student FAQ

All new, incoming transfer students will automatically be placed on the waitlist for housing and will receive a housing assignment for Fall 2023 in June. New transfer students will then be placed in housing reflective of their status at RISD (e.g. sophomores would be placed in sophomore housing, etc.).

As a transfer student, am I required to live on campus?

Yes – incoming new first year and sophomore transfer students are required to live on campus. To live off campus you must request a residency waiver and meet at least one of the three criteria outlined here.

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