Private Off-Campus Housing Process

About Living Off-Campus

As a four-year residential liberal arts institution, Colgate houses students close to its academic core. The university believes firmly that students excel and graduate at higher rates when they continue to live in on-campus housing. Our students live with us for all four years of their university experience, with our live-on requirement.

  • Privately owned, off-campus housing in the Village of Hamilton is only offered to small number of senior year students (approximately 30%) due to our on-campus housing capacity limits.
  • Rising seniors must apply to live in private, off-campus housing and not all students who apply are guaranteed permission to live off-campus. Final decisions are made using a lottery process.
  • Students should not sign a lease prior to approval for private off-campus housing. If a student is not approved, they will be responsible for both the costs of on-campus housing and the off-campus lease.
  • If a student is not approved through the lottery to live in private off-campus housing, they should plan to participate in the on-campus housing selection process during the spring semester.

Eligibility for Off-Campus Housing

Student applicants who meet eligibility requirements will be entered into a lottery to determine acceptance in the private off-campus housing. To be eligible for the lottery for private off-campus housing, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a rising senior
  • Be in good disciplinary standing; possess a student conduct record that demonstrates a pattern of respectful, healthy community behavior in on-campus housing. 

Members of fraternities and sororities should be mindful of their chapter's obligation to fill their house roster for fall and spring semester before they enter the lottery process. Approvals for private off-campus housing are contingent on chapter houses meeting their occupancy requirements.

Students participating in off-campus study during the fall of their junior year may still participate in the off-campus housing application process. Regardless of their current campus housing status, all active rising junior students will receive the same emails and access to the application as students physically present on-campus.

Off-campus study students should be mindful, however, of time zone differences that may affect application submission deadlines. Students having difficulty accessing their application while off campus may contact the Office of Residential Life for assistance.

Application Process and Deadline

The lottery process occurs during the fall semester of a student’s junior year.

The application process entails:

  1. Students in the junior class will receive an email announcing the start of the application period and providing instructions for applying.
  2. Residential Life and Student Conduct will review eligibility of all applicants.
  3. Applicants who meet eligibility requirements will then be permitted to form roommate groups, if they choose, or may remain in the process as individuals. Roommate groups are “all or nothing” groups. The entire group will be approved or declined as a whole through the lottery. Roommate groups must be eight students or fewer.
  4. Each individual who enters the lottery alone and each roommate group is then randomly assigned a lottery number.
  5. Residential Life releases students for off-campus living in lottery number order until the available number of off-campus beds has been filled.
  6. Once approved, students may accept or decline their offer to live in private off-campus housing. If students decline the offer, additional off-campus housing applicants will receive an offer according to their lottery number which correlates to their position on the waitlist.
  7. Students who are not approved for private off-campus housing through the lottery are automatically placed on a waitlist in the order of their randomly assigned lottery number.
  8. Offers to students on the waitlist will be made on a rolling basis as students decline. The process will close permanently once all spaces have been filled.

Information for Accepted Students

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program

The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program provides students with important information about living in the Hamilton community, resources available should they encounter difficulties, and expectations for student conduct while living in the village.

All students accepted for off-campus housing must participate in the program in the spring semester of their junior year. Students who participate in off-campus study during the spring semester of junior year will receive an electronic version of the program.

Alcohol Skills Training Program

Alcohol Skills Training Program (ASTP) is a skills training program specifically designed for college students. The emphasis of the training is on how to handle situations in which individuals have misused alcohol. The materials are focused on the college environment and how your actions can prevent alcohol-related problems. For legal-aged students it will provides the opportunity to learn how to create a responsible drinking environment. 

All students accepted for private off-campus housing must participate in the program in the spring semester of their junior year. Students who will be participating in off-campus study during the spring semester of junior year will receive an electronic version of the program.

Finding Off-Campus Housing

Colgate does not assist students with securing private, off-campus living accommodations and does not endorse any particular landlord. Colgate does not have responsibilities or involvement with any portion of an off-campus lease. 

The Office of Residential Life does have a list of area landlords and their contact information, which can be provided to students upon request after being released for private off-campus housing. However, Colgate does not maintain any information regarding the properties offered by each landlord. Landlords are informed of Colgate’s housing process and deadlines, and many landlords will request Colgate’s written permission from the Office of Residential Life stating the student is released from on-campus housing prior to signing a lease with a student. Students must thoroughly review the lease agreement, as they are solely responsible for all terms of the lease.

Submit Confirmation of Off-Campus Residence

Students accepted to the off-campus housing program must report their off-campus residence to the University through submission of a signed lease. If you do not wish to share a signed lease with the University, you must decline private off-campus housing . Acceptance is contingent on having a signed lease for every student living in a private, off-campus residence.

Student Conduct

The Colgate University Code of Student Conduct applies to student behavior both on and off campus. Living in private off-campus housing is a privilege, not a right. The University is sensitive to the importance of maintaining quality-of-life standards for neighbors in Hamilton and has high expectations for the students living in the village.

Students who have questions about the expectations of the Village and of Colgate of living in private, off-campus housing should talk with the Office of Residential Life before deciding to live in private, off-campus housing.

Revoking Off-Campus Residency Permissions

Students living in private off-campus housing whose conduct adversely impacts the lives of others in the community may, in addition to facing disciplinary action from the village and the University, have their permission to live in private off-campus housing revoked. Financial penalties incurred by breaking a lease will not be considered in determining whether to revoke a student’s permission to live off campus.


Contact the Office of Residential Life.