First Year Housing Preferences

August 17 Update: This information follows our typical housing assignments process. It does not apply to Autumn 2020 Housing Assignments.

Your residence will be more than just a place to sleep, study, and leave your belongings. Residential living is an opportunity to extend learning beyond the classroom, make lifelong friends, relax, hang out, and to learn about yourself and others.

First-year students are assigned to housing through the Approaching Stanford Forms, which will be available online in May when the Approaching Stanford process begins. Your Approaching Stanford Forms, specifically Housing Preferences, Roommate Preferences, and Roommate Compatibility, provide the information essential to place you within a residential community and with your specific roommate(s). The information below will help you make informed decisions about the choices available on these forms. Housing assignments are made in random order once the deadline for submission of the Approaching Stanford Forms has passed. This is an important reason to ensure your forms are submitted on time. In making first-year housing assignments, the R&DE Student Housing Assignments staff endeavor to make each residence a microcosm of the frosh class, balancing factors such as home region, gender, and ethnicity.

Special note: If you are an incoming student who is married, in a long-term same-sex or opposite-sex domestic partnership, has children, or is age 25 or older, you may request to live in graduate housing. Apply for graduate housing by the posted deadline. It is not necessary to complete the Roommate Preferences & Compatibility Forms if you are requesting assignment to a graduate residence. If you have any questions, please contact R&DE Student Housing Assignments at (650) 723-2428 or

Housing Options for First-Year Students (Frosh)

After you have carefully reviewed the housing options for first-year students below, consider which options will be the best fit for you and indicate your preferences by ranking all the options on your Housing Preferences Form. All residences with first-year students have the same staffing support. But while some students wish to live in a community made up exclusively of first-year students, others appreciate living among upperclass students in two- or four-class houses. Cross-Cultural Theme Houses offer an academic and social immersion into a focus culture, while the Integrated Learning Environments (ILEs) provide unique learning and residential opportunities for first-year students. Although R&DE Student Housing makes every effort to assign you to one of your top choices, any student may be assigned to any of the housing options. For this reason, you are required to rank all of the housing options. The only exception is the academic 'ILE Programs,' which you should only rank if you apply to the courses on the Thinking Matters Preferences Form. If you are not applying to an ILE program, select 'Not Interested' for this option on the Housing Preferences Form.

  1. INTEGRATED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS (ILEs): Read the Thinking Matters Course Descriptions for a detailed account of both the academic and residential components of the ILEs offered in 2020-21: ITALIC and SLE. If you are applying to an ILE, you must rank the program among your top two course preferences on the Thinking Matters, ESF and ILE Preferences Form and among your top two housing preferences on the Housing Preferences Form. Select 'Not Interested' for these options if you are not applying to an ILE.

  2. FROSH-SOPH THEME HOUSING: Freshman-Sophomore College (FroSoCo) provides the vibrant and tightly knit community of a small liberal arts college within a large premier research university. FroSoCo consists of approximately 100 first-year students and 70 sophomores living in two adjoining houses and has a unique theme dedicated to integrating the frosh and sophomore communities. It is the only residence where, if assigned to live here as a frosh, you can opt to return for your sophomore year. Most frosh do choose to return, making it one of the only places on campus where you can easily continue living with your friends and contributing to a caring community. FroSoCo is unique in its reputation for being especially nerdy. Students are strongly encouraged to “geek out together.” This means students have, or develop, a deep enthusiasm in one or many topics and that they proudly and freely share this deep enthusiasm with others. Broadly, students in FroSoCo learn from one another by openly sharing the ups and the downs of their journey. By engaging in a wide variety of conversations, playful and hard-working energy permeates the house. And while this happens across campus, it is the intensity and sometimes scale with which FroSoCo does this, given the longstanding culture established by the College, that makes it unique.

  3. CROSS-CULTURAL THEME HOUSES (ETHNIC THEME HOUSES): These four-class houses provide cross-cultural living at its best. Students of all backgrounds live in these active and vibrant communities that embrace their theme through the exploration of traditions, history, culture, and politics. Leading scholars, artists, and community leaders engage with students in an intimate residential setting. Students also contribute to shaping the living and learning experiences in the houses. Each house fosters cross-cultural dialogue and strong friendships across all class years in the residential environment through everyday interactions. These houses are often cited by students as being one of the most transformational experiences in their time at Stanford.

    Symbolizing the diversity of Stanford, approximately one-half of the first-year residents in a theme house are of a different ethnic or cultural background than the theme of the house. In addition to theme-related programs, theme houses have the same experiences, opportunities, social activities, and resources available in other residences. These residences house between 30 and 110 students. The four theme houses are:

    CASA ZAPATANamed for Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919), Casa Zapata focuses on the Chicanx/Latinx experience through educational and cultural programs. Zapata was established in 1972 when Stanford was home to only a handful of Chicanx/ Latinx students, who were the first in their families to attend college. Today, Zapata is home to students from many different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, as well as Americans of Latinx descent from a wide range of occupational and educational backgrounds, creating a rich diversity of people and perspectives in this dorm.

    Zapata residents are engaged in a wide range of activities—staging culturally and socially relevant plays and performances, planning film series, sharing poetry and music at regular dorm gatherings, and engaging in lively discussions about culture, social justice, and activism. Decorated with vibrant murals by renowned Latinx artists, Casa Zapata is a hub for community events, such as Floricanto and Chicanx/Latinx Reunion Homecoming, as well as host to student groups and service organizations. The 2017–18 academic year marked the 45th Anniversaryof Casa Zapata and we have honored and celebrated this milestone with our Stanford community via a series of special events, including a 45th anniversary celebration during Reunion Homecoming 2017 that brought together 500+ alumni from as early as the 1950s with current and former student residents to commemorate our Zapata legacy of familia, comunidad, and inclusion.

    MUWEKMA-TAH-RUKMuwekma-Tah-Ruk, the Native American theme house, celebrates the diversity of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander people. The house’s name means roughly “the house of the people” in the language of the Muwekma Ohlone, the San Francisco Bay Area’s original inhabitants. Muwekma is located in the area of campus known as the Row and is the only residence on the Row that houses first-year students. Muwekma residents take a credit-bearing seminar class either Autumn or Winter Quarter to explore significant cultural identity, legal, language, and land issues through speakers, discussions, and events. Residents also volunteer at Stanford Powwow. Additional theme programming presented in the house throughout the year is representative of indigenous cultures, histories, and current issues, and is intended to engage all students regardless of background and familiarity with the theme.

    OKADAThe Asian American theme house was established at Stanford in 1971 to create community and center the experiences of a very small and primarily first generation Asian American student population. Renamed in 1979 after John Okada who is recognized as the first Asian American novelist, Okada House continues to explore and celebrate the diversity of Asian American peoples, cultures, and languages in a historical and contemporary context.

    In addition to fostering a warm and vibrant community, Okada serves as a focal point for students in the residence and across campus to explore the Asian American experience and what it means to be Asian in America–how it is experienced by those who are connected to Asian/Pacific Islander American Identity, as well as by those who are not (and the people who feel in-between). Through weekly presentations by upperclass residents on topics such as Immigration Narratives, Intersectional Identities, and Art & Activism; dynamic programs with faculty; trips to local community organizations such as the South Asian Radical History Walking Tour; teach-ins at the People’s Teahouse; student group performances and events; critical conversations; and the lived experience, Okada creates an inclusive space where people of all identities and backgrounds can be vulnerable, explore identity, and uplift their voices together as a community.

    UJAMAAUjamaa House was created as a concept in 1970 with a concentration of Black first-year and upperclass students living on East campus, and moved to its current location in 1976. Over the years, this African-American themed dorm has expanded its intellectual focus to include the entire African Diaspora. Their legacy of excellence is fluid and active with frequent speakers and visits by alumni such as college dean and physician, Hilda Hutcherson, actor Sterling K. Brown, writer Brit Bennett, philanthropist Jeff Raikes, and politician Michael Tubbs.

    Ujamaa focuses on the histories, issues, and cultures of the African Diaspora. The name comes from the Swahili word for “extended family.” This house prides itself on fostering a sense of belonging for all residents by creating a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue. Weekly presentations by upperclass students allow residents to deepen their knowledge and understanding of themselves, their peers, and the world. The breadth and depth of topics ensures that Ujamaa is a true living and learning community. This house encourages intellectual vitality and emotion to collide, which leads to robust conversations filled with uncertainty, realness, and laughter.

  4. FOUR-CLASS RESIDENCE HALLS: First-year students in four-class houses benefit from the best of all worlds—bonding with fellow frosh who are undergoing similar first-year experiences plus close interaction with upperclass students who have much to share from their own campus history. In addition, upperclass students can often assist with problem sets, serve as sounding boards for ideas for Thinking Matters papers, introduce stress-reducing social events during exam times, and lend guidance to house activities and intramural teams. Four-class houses can include sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and are located in large complexes that have a significant number of first-year students. These residences house between 50 and 300 students, and approximately 50% of the residents in a four-class house will be in their first year. Four-class houses have the same staffing support found in all-frosh residences.

  5. ALL-FROSH RESIDENCE HALLS: In all-frosh houses, students enjoy the experience generated by living with an entire house of first-year students where everyone in the house is going through similar adjustments and facing similar challenges. All-frosh houses are usually characterized by high spirit and an almost constant buzz of activity. These residences house between 65 and 100 students.

Additional Information


Most rooms are single gender. There are a limited number of gender inclusive rooms for students who opt-in.


All residences with first-year and new transfer students are coed. However, within a residence, individual floors may be coed or single gender. It is possible that a single-gender floor will have a staff member of the opposite gender. 


The vast majority of bathrooms in residences with first-year students have enhanced privacy features. These include the following:

  • Special hinges on toilet and shower stall doors to fully enclose the space and ensure maximum privacy.
  • Toilet and shower stall doors that go to within a few inches of the ceiling and floor (a small gap remains at the top and bottom to allow for ventilation and drainage).
  • Separate showering and changing areas so that students may shower and then dress within their own privately enclosed area.
  • Urinals are not present in bathrooms with enhanced privacy features.

Bathrooms may be designated for men, women, or as all-gender facilities. Every residence with first-year students will have at least one bathroom designated for men, one for women, and one that is all-gender.

Housing Options for Transfers

Undergraduate Housing

Housing for new transfer students is different than housing for first-year students. In order to foster a strong sense of community among new transfer students, it is helpful for transfers to live together within a larger all-upperclass residence community. As such, transfer students are generally assigned to an upper-class community within a specific undergraduate residence. 

Graduate Housing (25+ years, family)

Transfers who are 25+ years old and/or who need family housing (couples or children) are eligible to apply for graduate housing. If you live in graduate housing, you will also be affiliated with the transfer undergraduate residence and welcomed into the residential community.

Special Considerations

Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional students generally are those who are older than the typical 18 to 24 year-old Stanford student. Single non-traditional students are strongly encouraged to live in graduate housing. You will have your own bedroom in a grad student apartment, which may be occupied by 1-4 single students. Select this option and complete the Graduate Housing Application. Do not complete the Roommate Preferences & Compatibility Forms on the Approaching Stanford Forms.

Families (Couples and/or Students with Children)

Couples and/or or students with children should select this option and follow the link to apply for graduate housing in apartments in Escondido Village, an on-campus residential neighborhood. You will have your own apartment. Couples may include students who are married or in a long-term same-gender or opposite-gender domestic partnership. Do not complete the Roommate Preferences & Compatibility Forms on the Approaching Stanford Forms.

Students with Documented Disabilities and/or Medical Conditions

Students who have a disability or medical condition that requires special housing considerations should submit a request for accommodation via the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) by June 26, 2020. Students who submit requests to OAE after this summer deadline may not be able to be accommodated by the start of the academic year. Request forms and more information about OAE can be found at

Students with Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Considerations

Incoming first-year and transfer students who have concerns about their roommate match and/or housing assignment in relation to their sexual orientation or gender identity can request and receive assistance. Please include your concerns on the Roommate Compatibility Form or contact Edith Wu-Nguyen, Associate Dean for New Student Programs, at (650) 725-3115 or Students will not be asked to provide more information than is necessary. All inquiries will remain private.