First Year Housing Program Choices

For first year students at UVa there are really 2 main choices – you can select to a part of the random selection process for the areas of housing that are reserved exclusively for first year students or you can apply to be in one of the three Residential College programs.

The Areas that are exclusively for first year students include:  Alderman Road, Gooch/Dillar and McCormick Road.  Over 96% of the first year class will live in these three areas.  If you select these as your preference, you are not given the ability to select a location within those three areas.  The University’s intent is to give everyone as diverse an experience as possible, by randomly distributing the first year class members in these areas.  You and another student can preference each other as roommates and/or you can preference a double or single room.   Beyond that we don’t make exceptions for people to be assigned to a particular complex because of any other reason you or your parents might want to choose to consider to be necessary for you…..   (We do get a lot of calls from parents who want

their children to live where they did when they were here…. or, the most common call is based on wanting to believe that being 5 minutes closer to or farther from the center of grounds will cripple someone’s ability to participate in a program or activity.   We operate by different rules than were in place a generation ago.  What normally happens is that no matter where you live, when you meet the other new students, and make friends, wherever you have been assigned ends up being the “best place.”  All of these areas are on the same bus line, so you can wait at any of the bus stops and get off at the same destinations….. it isn’t really an obstacle and the difference in distances are less than 1/2 mile either way at most… )

Single Rooms.  With the addition of the Gooch/Dillard complex to first year housing, there are now many single rooms to choose from.  There are close to 600 single rooms for first year students in Gooch/Dillard and there are a small number of stairwell single rooms in the McCormick Road Complex (almost all are female rooms in McCormick).

The Gooch/Dillard complex is mostly 6 person suites with 6 single rooms in it.  In this setting, you will find that you are able to do a couple of things that are important to many students -have some privacy and the ability to control your own schedule, but still be part of a close-knit, small group of other first year students.  This complex has had first year students in it for the past 2 years and has been a popular option.  The complex also has 615 first year students total, with all of the buildings focused around an interior courtyard.  There are also a small number of double rooms in the complex.

This year we are anticipating that we will need to create some triple rooms for first year students.  I’ll explain the tripling/detripling process later in the summer if/when that becomes a reality.  Today I just wanted to note that if we have triples we will use these large, double rooms in Gooch/Dillard as triple room spaces.  If we have more than these (14) spaces, we will also triple the front room in the suites of the remaining suite style buildings in Alderman Road.

The McCormick Road halls are double rooms with a scattering of stairwell single rooms — no air conditioning…..  very popular because of their location.

The Alderman Road area is the site of a lot of change.  We are in the process of demolishing the older, suite style buildings that were constructed during the ’60-’70s.  Two buildings were knocked down 2 years ago and 4 are going down this summer.  Three new buildings that are hallway style with double rooms will have been finished by Fall to replace these.  the Echols, Rodman and University Scholars programs will be housed in the 2 buildings that are opening this year.  1/2 of the space in those buildings is reserved for these programs.  That will mean that we will still have 4 remaining suite style buildings (un-airconditioned) and 5 new or newer hallways style buildings (air conditioned and with elevators).

The other program choice available to First Year Students are the three Residential Colleges.  These programs are Brown, Hereford and the International Residential College.  Please visit the web sites for these three programs for more detailed information.  In general they are non-academic colleges, set up to provide a comfortable, knowable, kind of community living group within the larger University community.  Each as a self-governing student structure, a Faculty member that lives in the community and who serves as the “Principal” and a number of faculty members who serve as “Fellows”.  Each College also has a Director or Coordinator of Studies position or positions that work with the Principal, the students and the fellows to create the programs and activities of the community.  Each group has a general kind of theme that has been selected by the students.  Hereford College is focused on issues related to sustainability,  The International Residential College is focused on International issues (it is not segregated housing for international students) and Brown College looks for and focuses on creativity and individual expression.  Inn each of the colleges, 20% of the space is reserved for first year students.  The other 80% of the space is for upperclass students.  Since these areas are considered upperclass housing students accepted as first year students can remain in them throughout their undergraduate career and do not have to leave at the end of their first year.

There aren’t any bad options or choices.  Please don’t worry so much about where you will live.  When you get here and move in, making friends and developing relationships  is what will make your experience, not the location…


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