Frequently Asked Questions

Residence FAQs for family and friends

What is residence life like?

Residence life is an incredibly diverse and unique experience. The opportunities for creativity, success and exploration are endless. Sharing your space and your life with others is a humbling experience that can teach you a lot about who you are and who you want to become.

If something goes wrong, where can my student turn?

Every student living in residence is encouraged to make a personal connection with their Communtiy Assistant (formally Residence Assistant). Community Assistants can be the first point of contact and referral to many services on campus, including academic advising, health services and counselling services.

Residence Life Managers are trained professional staff equipped to handle any crisis big or small with care and compassion. Professional residence staff both live and work in our residence buildings so they are easily accessible.

How much studying gets done in residence?

Each individual student finds their own balance between studying and the rest of life. Both halves of the modern student are an important part of their development. Residence is a great place to study and it’s easy to find a quiet space to tuck away and be productive. We have lots of dedicated spaces to study and complete assignments inside our residences and we also have very fast WiFi.

How safe are the residences and the campus?

We do everything we can to make our residences (and campus) as safe and secure as possible. Community Assistants, professional residence staff and security are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to any concerns.

Residence buildings have secured entrances along with staffed front desks and evening checkpoints in some locations.

Will my student have trouble meeting people?

There are so many different ways and plenty of opportunities to get involved and meet people on campus and in Halifax or Truro. Community Assistants organize events and educational opportunities.

Dalhousie has hundreds of clubs and societies covering many different interests and hobbies, plus an incredibly diverse offering of intramural activities. If your student is having trouble meeting people, encourage them to seek out something that matches their personality so that they can meet others interested in the same thing.

Who should I speak to if my student has a food allergy or special dietary need?

If your student has any dietary needs, like an allergy or intolerance, we encourage you to get in touch with the on-campus dietitian (Halifax Campus only).

She is available to work with students to accommodate their dietary needs and ensure they are comfortable navigating our dining halls and enjoying their meals.

On our Agriculture Campus, you can reach out to our Manager of Residence Operations. She will be able to connect you with dining hall staff to meet your student’s dietary requirements.

My student has been getting an error message when they apply to residence. How can this be fixed?

No need to panic. If your student continues to see the error message, it’s important to confirm that the $200 admissions deposit has been paid. If not, please pay the deposit and wait two to three business days for it to be processed before trying again. If you have paid the admissions deposit, try clearing your browser history. If the problem persists, please contact the Registrar’s Office to have your status updated so you are able to apply. You can contact them at

When will my student find out if they have been accepted to residence?

We begin sending room offers to new direct-from-high-school students who have completed a residence application by May 15. This is done in the order in which the applications were received and continues throughout the summer. Returning residence students will begin to find out in April.

How can my student accept their residence room?

We have created a step-by-step guide to help your student through accepting their offer. Visit to find out how they can finalize the acceptance process. Please be aware that the $500 deposit must be paid before their offer can be officially accepted.

When is the deposit due for residence?

For new students, the deposit is due ten days after they receive their offer. For returning students, the deposit is due on May 15.

How can my student find out who their roommate is?

It’s very exciting for your student to find out who they will be living with during their time in residence. Encourage your student to email the Residence Office at to find out who they will be living with. If their roommate has agreed to release their personal information, we can share their first name and Dal email. We feel it’s a great opportunity for roommates to begin connecting even before they arrive on campus.

What is included in my student's residence room?

We aim to make living in residence as convenient as possible for your student by including many of the essential furniture items they need. Each room on the Halifax campus has an extra-long twin-sized bed and mattress, a desk and chair, a closet or wardrobe, bureau (or drawers under the bed), a mirror, and curtains for the window. Some rooms on our Truro campus do have a double bed and students with those rooms will be notified. By providing these items, we hope it makes the move to residence a little easier and less costly than furnishing an apartment off-campus.

What does my student need to bring to residence?

It’s essential that your student feels at home during their time in residence. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we’ve created a list of suggested items to help with packing and to ensure your student has everything they need for a comfortable stay. Visit the what to bring to residence page for the complete list and more information.

What if my student is unhappy with their room assignment?

Sometimes students are unsatisfied with the room assignment they have been given. If that’s the case for your student they are able to apply online for a room transfer.

To begin this process, the student must first accept their current offer and pay their $500 confirmation deposit. Once these steps have been completed, they can request to change their room. This is done through their Dal Online Residence Hub page.

These transfers continue to be processed throughout the entire summer as rooms become available.

Is it possible for my student to move in early?

Sorry, early move-in requests are typically not granted with the exception of international students or to students whose programs begin early.

If we are unable to arrive to campus until after midnight on move-in day will someone be available to check my student in?

Travelling can be challenging and we recognize there can be times when students are unable to make it to move-in day until very late. If your student is arriving after midnight, they will be let into their room by a staff member. It’s important to remember that while they will have access to their room, this does not officially check them in. They will need to return to the front desk in the morning to complete their check-in process.

What can I do if my student has an accessibility requirement?

If your student has specific room requirements while living in residence, we are happy to help meet their needs. Please ask your student to indicate their medical or accessibility requirements on their application form. Once receiving the application, we work closely with the Accessibility Office on our Halifax Campus to best accommodate these needs. For questions, or additional information, please contact the Residence Office.

What happens if something breaks in my student's room?

It’s very important that residence rooms and common areas are maintained to a high standard. Students should fill out a Maintenance Request Form online through their Residence Hub Page in Dal Online. Maintenance lists are provided to our staff for repairs Monday through Friday, and requests will be completed in a timely manner. In the case of an emergency situation, like a water leak or broken window, these and other issues should be reported right away to residence staff or their front desk.

Is my student allowed to bring a car to campus?

Students are permitted to have cars, however the availability of parking varies across campuses. On our Halifax campuses, there are a limited number of reserved parking spaces for residence students at the Risley Hall parkade. If you are interested in acquiring parking at Risley, contact with your name, Dalhousie ID and telephone number. Please specify that you are looking to be considered for the Risley Hall parkade. Requests are approved on a first-come, first-served basis.

On our Truro campus, Students who wish to bring a vehicle must obtain a parking pass from our security department that allows them overnight parking. Residence students must park their vehicle in the overnight parking lot behind Chapman House. Parking passes can be completed online before going to the security office. Please make sure you bring your Dalhousie ID with you when you go to pick up or purchase your pass.

When should my student make arrangements to come home for the holidays/end of the year?

We know that family members can be anxious to book flights and make travel arrangements for their students for the holidays and end of term. While it can be difficult, we suggest students wait until the final examination schedule has been released before making travel plans. When confirming the details for your student’s trip home, an important thing to consider is that students are required to leave residence 24 hours after their last exam.

Will my student be able to receive mail and packages if they stay during the holiday break?

All packages being delivered via Canada Post are processed through Dalhousie's central mail room, which is closed from Dec. 24 - Jan. 2. All mail and packages received by the mailroom will be distributed when it re-opens. 

Packages being delivered via courier (Purolator, UPS, Fedex) may be delivered to the residence building, as the front desks will be staffed to receive them. 

Will my returning student be guaranteed to stay in residence if they apply by the March deadline?

If your student applies to return to residence for next fall by the posted March deadline, they will be guaranteed to keep their current room or be given first priority to move to another building of their choice. For more details visit

When will my returning student find out if they are accepted to residence?

Assignments for returning students are sent out in April. The $500 confirmation deposit will be due on June 1.

Is there a place for my student to store their belongings during the summer months?

If your student decides to stay in residence for another year, they will have to pack up their room during the summer months. However, we do offer summer storage. Students who are planning to return to residence can store up to five items (fridge plus four medium-sized boxes) at no charge. If your student does not return to residence, there is a $50/month charge.

What if my student has applied and changed their mind about returning to residence, is there a fee?

If your student has yet to pay their fees, there is no penalty and no fees are due. If they have paid their fees and cancel by Aug. 1, $250 of the $500 deposit is refundable. If they cancel after Aug. 1, there are no refunds. Please note that the $50 application fee is also non-refundable.