Housing Profile #1: GSAS Residence Halls

Prospective students often ask, “Where should I live when I move to Cambridge?” In response to that question, this blog will feature a range of housing profiles over the next week. Each housing profile will include a current student’s experience, photos, and a link to the housing option if you want to learn more. 

GSAS Residence Halls: “Not just a dorm”

Each year, Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) runs a lottery for HGSE students to live in their on-campus residence halls. Applications for the GSAS lottery are open until May 1, 2018. To learn more about GSAS housing, visit their website here.

Below, current HGSE student Helen shares her experience living in Richard’s Hall, a GSAS residence hall. Richard’s Hall is pictured below in fall 2017 (left) and winter 2018 (right). 

Initial expectations: I didn’t expect living in a GSAS dorm to be the most exciting thing but it has now become one of the most fun experiences. The only downside is sharing a kitchen and bathroom, which I easily got used to after 2 weeks.

GSAS kitchen
Shared kitchen. My RA bought us a lot of communal cooking utensils after we moved in.
GSAS bathroom
I live on a co-ed floor and there’s a lock for the Women’s bathroom. I have never had problems with the bathrooms.









Room: GSAS housing is not just a dorm but a delightful living experience to me for the following reasons: first, I don’t need to worry about furniture. It’s a small furnished room. I came in with just my luggage and settled.

GSAS door
My RA made each of us a name plate for our door. Sweet!
GSAS dorm room
My homey petite room. Yes I love plants!

Food: I don’t need to worry about making food because there’s a mandatory meal plan. The required balance is enough to even take friends there for a nice treat now and then.

GSAS common room
Common lounge on my floor with a lovely balcony

Community: Each floor has a Residential Advisor and mine is simply the best. She organizes many cool events and makes our floor like home. Last but also the best part is I get to experience the fun of both the HGSE and GSAS worlds. Every day, on my way to HGSE for class or to Dudley House for food, I get to walk across the Yard, pause, feel the vibe, and be grateful that I’m at Harvard.

GSAS events
My Residential Advisor Nicole is the best. Look at all the fun events she organized for our floor!
GSAS Helen photo
RA Nicole is a super baker and taught us how to decorate cookies. We had a lot of fun!









Application: In terms of the application process, GSAS housing runs a lottery system and grants 20 rooms to HGSE students each year. Here’s the detailed information about GSAS Housing from the HGSE Office of Student Affairs:

  • For full-time, single students only.
  • Twenty rooms are available to HGSE students.
  • Rooms are assigned via lottery.
  • Cost: $7,186 – $11,284  + $2,379 for the mandatory meal plan.
  • Lease period: Friday, August 24, 2018, to noon on Thursday, May 23, 2019
  • Applications go live online March 2nd at noon. Applications must be submitted by May 1, at 5:00 p.m. Please note: rooms are not assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. As long as you submit your application by the deadline, you will be included in the lottery.
GSAS laundry room
Laundry room in the basement.

Blog written by Helen Liu, photos provided by Helen Liu

Helen Liu is an Ed.M candidate in the International Education Policy program. As a First-Gen living through adverse early experiences, she believes each child deserves an equal start and education opens fascinating doors to the world no matter where we start. She also believes each voice matters and the world needs to listen. Bringing equal educational opportunities to all and empowering each person to make a voice heard are what excite her. Helen founded a Virtual Learning Community called “Speak to the World” to help over 100 young adults learn foreign languages and public speaking skills when she won an English Speech Contest Champion two years ago in China.