Plan Your Arrival
A great part of your experience as a first-year student at Columbia University is learning to be open to new situations and experiences. Your first room, roommate, and residence hall in college will definitely be experiences that you will never forget.
Your Housing Assignment
You can expect an email from Columbia Housing mid-summer with your housing assignment, roommate information (if applicable), and mailbox assignment. If you don’t receive this email, or haven’t signed your Occupancy Agreement online, please email email@example.com. Detailed information about Columbia Housing and the residence halls is available at housing.columbia.edu.
First-Year Check-In is on August 25, 2019.
Transfer, Exchange and Combined Plan Check-In is on August 27, 2019.
Here are some useful tools to help you make the necessary arrangements for your arrival on campus to ensure that your move-in experience is as stress-free as possible.
Click on a topic below:
Your room is furnished with a bed, chair, chest of drawers, desk, bookshelves, closet or wardrobe, a wastebasket and recycling bins. Your windows are covered with miniblinds or shades. Bed heights are adjustable (to a maximum height of 33 inches) to allow for storage under the bed. For bed height specifics, please refer to the Residence descriptions on the Columbia Housing website. Depending on your residence, the floors of your room may or may not be carpeted. In either case, you are welcome to bring your own floor covering. You will need to bring your own pillows, linens, and blankets. Your mattress is extra-long (80” x 36”), so it will require special extra-long sheets.
Please note that you must keep all furnishings in your room, including bed frames and mattresses, and that you may not bring any additional furniture into your living space. Due to space limitations, we are unable to provide alternative storage for any furniture. Refrigerators are not provided in first-year residence halls. You may keep a refrigerator in your room, but it must meet certain outlined specifications. Columbia Housing facilitates refrigerator-microwave combination unit rentals for students through MicroFridge. Refrigerators can also be purchased at the Green Sale during Check-In. For more information, visit the Explore Campus Services page.
Please refer to the Guide to Living online at housing.columbia.edu for more information.
Laundry facilities are located in each residence hall and are accessible 24 hours a day. Laundry is free to undergraduate students living in the residence halls. Learn more.
Safety Inside the Halls
Shortly after your arrival, you will receive a University ID card with a photo. Housing residents are given access to all 18 undergraduate residence halls and SIC House via their Columbia University ID. You may have visitors and guests according to the guest policies found in the Guide to Living. You must sign your guests in with the security desk attendant, and they must leave a photo ID with the desk for the duration of their stay.
Safety Outside the Halls
Morningside Heights is a safe neighborhood. Nevertheless, always be alert, especially at night or when traveling alone. If you feel unsafe at any time, call Public Safety at (212) 854-SAFE and an escort will be provided. Between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., a University shuttle serves the Morningside Heights and Manhattanville areas. See the Columbia Transportation website for information on the evening shuttle.
- Pack your belongings for ease in handling. Use trunks, suitcases, and sealed cartons, which can be moved easily and quickly. Avoid bringing loose belongings.
- Remember to bring with you, rather than ship, the items you’ll need during the first few weeks of school. Shipped items may not be immediately available.
- Every box should have your full name and address clearly labeled and securely affixed to at least two sides on the outside of the box. Put your name and address on the inside of the box as well.
- If your shipment consists of more than one box, number them “1 of 4,” “2 of 4,” “3 of 4,” etc.
- Pack electronic equipment and other fragile items in the manufacturer’s original container and padding. If this is not possible, make certain to pack each item separately and protect all sides with at least two inches of protective padding.
- Do not ship any packages weighing more than 50 pounds or which have a combined length and girth of more than 130 inches.
- Make certain to employ a reputable shipping agent, insure all your packages, and use a shipping method that provides package tracking. In the event that a package is not received on time, searching by tracking number is the only way to locate your shipments.
- Remember, the insurance and shipment of your package(s) is an arrangement agreed upon by you and your shipping agent. Columbia University and its agents maintain no responsibility in these areas.
Things to Bring / Things Not to Bring
Weather Conditions and Seasonal Clothing
For those of you who are not from the northeastern United States, we have also provided a short description of weather conditions in New York City and suggested clothing for each season (see chart below). Please be aware, however, that New York weather often varies from year to year.
- Early Fall
- Warm to hot
- Suggested Clothing
- Shorts, t-shirts, summer shoes
- Late Fall
- Suggested Clothing
- Lightweight sweaters, fleece, jackets, jeans, long-sleeved shirts
- Very cold and wet with freezing rain and snow
- Suggested Clothing
- Rain gear, boots, gloves, winter jacket or oversized jacket with lightweight lining that allows for layering
- Variable - Rainy and cool to sunny and warm
- Suggested Clothing
- Early and late fall clothing is suitable in the spring as well
Arrival by Car
Street parking is available on Broadway and parts of Amsterdam with a range of rates and restrictions. However, it is extremely limited. Please check street signs for specific regulations. Parking tickets are the responsibility of the vehicle owner. No parking is available on the campus. Information on area parking garages can be found on the Transportation website.
Arrival in the City by Bus or Train
Using the Subway from a New York Bus/Train Hub
Guests arriving by bus or train can access the subway from both Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You can catch the 1 uptown subway line to the 116th Street/Columbia University station.
From Grand Central Terminal (E. 42nd St.), you can take the Shuttle (S subway train) to Times Square/Port Authority (W. 42nd St.), where you can board the 1 subway to 116th Street.
For subway schedule and fare information, please visit www.mta.info.
Using a Taxi from a New York Bus/Train Hub
Taxis are also available and are a convenient means of travel when you are transporting luggage. The fare to Columbia is approximately $25 from Penn Station, the Port Authority, or Grand Central Terminal.
Arrival by Airplane
Depending on the airport you use, options for traveling to campus vary. For most airports a yellow cab or a ride service can be a simple way to travel to Columbia. At LaGuardia, city buses are a viable option, while at Newark and JFK there is AirTrain service that connects to the subways.
When arriving by airplane, an easy way to travel to campus is to take a yellow medallion taxicab or a ride service directly from the airport. We highly recommend that you use this method of transportation if you are relatively unfamiliar with New York City. Fare can vary depending on the arriving airport. Review the NYC Taxi Commission website for a sense of what you can expect to pay. You will also have to pay for tolls and tip.
Direct city bus service is available from LaGuardia Airport only. The M60 bus picks up passengers at each LaGuardia terminal every 20 minutes. It takes approximately one hour to reach campus, subject to traffic. The M60 stops on Broadway at West 116th Street. For schedule and fare information, please visit www.mta.info.
Privately owned licensed shuttle buses from Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan are available for approximately $12-15. A bus will bring you to the Port Authority Terminal, where you can transfer to the subway or take a taxi to reach Columbia.
Subway service is available from Kennedy Airport, but the trip takes at least 90 minutes and is difficult with large luggage. Take the JFK AirTrain to the nearby subway station, where you can then take the A subway toward Manhattan. Transfer to the 1 uptown subway at the 59th Street/Columbus Circle station. For schedule and fare information, please visit www.mta.info.
From Newark, EWR AirTrain service runs to several Manhattan locations where you can connect with a subway or bus. The most straightforward path is to take NJ Transit to New York-Penn Station, where you can transfer from NJ Transit to the MTA, for a small additional fare, to the 1 uptown subway line.
First Year Check-In will be at the assigned residence hall on Sunday, August 25 from 7:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m. Additional information about Check-In procedures will be sent with the Room Assignment in mid-summer.
Transfer and Combined Plan Check-In will take place at select locations based on the building. Specific information regarding Check-In will be provided with the Room Assignment later in the summer.
Students participating in Pre-Orientation programs will receive Check-In information from their program. In some cases, summer projects may delay room access for students arriving early. Storage or alternative housing will be available during the program if necessary.
Students arriving after Check-In hours should notify Housing by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Late Arrivals will be able to Check-In at Hartley Hall 24 hours a day.