{shortcode-586963d570d992ba3116b372627ec9a3314d41f0}We know you’re all asking yourselves the same questions: where exactly do freshmen live? How do they get assigned dorms? Which dorms are the best? And, what is ~The Yard~? Prefrosh, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to Flyby’s first-year housing guide, where we’ll spill the deets about the housing process and dorm life during your freshman year!

Early in the Summer, you will fill out a housing application, indicating your lifestyle choices (how clean you are — don’t lie, how noisy you are, your sleep schedule, the essentials). You can also write a page elaborating on your preferences. Around mid-August, Harvard will send an email announcing your Yard (a group of dorms), dorm, entryway (20-40 students you live close to), and suitemates! Be prepared to see many (many) Instagram stories of people announcing their dorms. But before that, check out our rundown of the perks of living in each of the first-year dorms.

Ivy Yard

Ivy Yard consists of eight small but mighty dorms, most of which are located in the heart of the “Old Yard.” If you’re in Ivy Yard, you’ll never have to wake up before 8:50 a.m. for your 9 a.m. class. Although, you may occasionally get tourists peering through your windows.


Typical housing style: Holworthy suites consist of two doubles and one (very large!) common room. Residents share a bathroom with the other suite on the floor.

Nearby: The Science Center, Annenberg (food!), Hemenway (the Law School gym)

Amenities: Arts and crafts room, party space basement, music practice rooms, kitchen

Missing: Laundry room (many Holworthy residents have been seen lugging their clothes to Stoughton or Thayer), trash room

Fun facts: Holworthy has vertical entryways (a.k.a. no typically long college hallways), so you have to make an effort to get to know students in other entryways.


Typical housing style: Two roommates to a very, very large room. Doubles for days!

Nearby: The Science Center, Annenberg, Hemenway, Johnston Gate

Amenities: Laundry room, kitchen

Missing: Singles (a.k.a. bring your roommate a gift on the first day)

Fun facts: The Hasty Pudding Club held its first performance on the top floor!


Typical housing style: Like Stoughton, doubles so large you won’t know what to do with yourself!

Nearby: Johnston Gate, The T stop

Missing: Laundry (sorry friends, it’s a short walk next door to Stoughton)

Fun Facts: Hollis was built in 1763 and is super historic. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau both lived in Hollis, but we promise them fleeing to the woods had nothing to do with the dorm.

Apley Court

Typical housing style: Apley has singles, doubles, and triples (the works)

Nearby: Smith Campus Center, Farkas Hall, Clover Restaurant, JP Licks, the MAC (gym)

Amenities: Laundry, bathtubs!!

Missing: Relevance

Fun facts: Marble… marble staircases! marble floors! And, most importantly, marble bathtubs!


Typical housing style: Triplets and quads, all with their own in-suite bathrooms

Nearby: PBHA, the Science Center, Annenberg, Pokeworks, Felipe’s

Amenities: Lionel shares its own courtyard with Mower

Fun facts: We’re not really sure if anyone actually lives here.


Typical housing style: Triplets and quads, all with their own in-suite bathrooms

Nearby: PBHA, the Science Center, Annenberg, Pokeworks, Felipe’s

Extra perks: Mower shares its own courtyard with Lionel

Fun facts: Like Lionel, we’ve genuinely never met someone who lives here. But Al Gore did at one point.

Massachusetts Hall

Typical housing style: Doubles and singles

Nearby: Johnston Gate, The T

Amenities: President Bacow’s office ???

Missing: Windows

Fun facts: If you’re placed in Mass Hall, Harvard thinks you’re a goody-two-shoes who won’t throw parties in your room (and you probably shouldn’t). Mass Hall is the oldest building on campus and the only dorm that housed soldiers during the American Revolution!


Typical housing style: Suites of quads, with some doubles and triples. All rooms have in-suite bathrooms

Nearby: Widener, Boylston, Felipe’s, Source Restaurant

Amenities: Common room, kitchen, tiny courtyard shared with Matthews!

Missing: Laundry!

Fun facts: Straus is known for its old-academia style common room - perfect for discussions of Bridgerton season two.

Elm Yard

Elm Yard is also in the heart of the Yard. If you live in this yard, you’ll undoubtedly be in the middle of students running to class, tourists, and many friendly squirrels and dogs.


Typical housing style: Suites of four with en-suite bathrooms and huge common rooms!

Nearby: Smith Campus Center, Boylston Hall, Widener Library, Harvard Square

Amenities: Serenity space in the basement.

Missing: Laundry!

Fun facts: Grays has an unofficial reputation as the “Hilton of Harvard” but we’re not really sure why. It’s not even that much nicer than Matthews or Weld, though it does have in-suite bathrooms. The suites on the fifth floor are great for hosting parties. Notable alumni include Malia Obama and Natalie Portman!


Typical housing style: Suites of three students with hallway bathrooms.

Nearby: Smith, Harvard Square, CVS, and the T!

Amenities: Multiple study spaces in the basement, cute library nook, two music practice rooms and a kitchen!

Missing: Matthews has literally everything — except an elevator.

Fun facts: Many Matthews do and have in fact lived in this dorm, including Matt Damon. Matthews also stands in the location of Harvard’s Native American College.


Typical housing style: A suite with doubles and singles! You may have an in-suite bathroom or use the communal bathroom.

Nearby: Widener Library, Lamont Library

Amenities: Weld Solarium, Yard Ops and Dorm Crew, laundry, an elevator!

Missing: Large common rooms.

Fun facts: Weld has it all, with extra Covid-19 tests and cleaning supplies in the basement. And, although we’ve been told you can’t really see stars from the Weld solarium, it’s the perfect study nook or late night date spot.

Oak Yard

Oak Yard is the part of Harvard Yard that is furthest from the Square, but closest to the Science Center, Annenberg, and basically all of your classes (unless you’re an engineering student). If you live in this Yard, you will endlessly appreciate the ability to wake up three minutes before class and still be on time.


Typical housing style: Some hallway singles and a lot suites with a common room and four bedrooms that are mostly singles!

Nearby: The Science Center, Annenberg, Memorial Church

Amenities: Harvard College Women’s Center, vending machines, air hockey table, laundry room, kitchen

Missing: Elevators.

Fun facts: The top floor has skylights and really tall ceilings! Canaday is riot-proof which is why the entryways don’t connect and there are locks to both the hallway and rooms inside it — so rest assured, no one will break into your room. Living in Canaday can feel like being in a fortress, but the good news is it makes living in an upperclassman House feel like the Ritz.


Typical housing style: Doubles! Singles! Small suites that hold 2-3 people.

Nearby: Memorial Church, The Science Center, Annenberg

Amenities: Kitchen and common room space decked with a pool table, T, and laundry. Also, a functional elevator.

Missing: In-suite bathrooms — everyone uses hallway bathrooms (but they get cleaned for you!).

Crimson Yard

Crimson Yard isn’t in the traditional Harvard Yard, but if anything, that makes the community stronger. Crimson Yard is located a few minutes away from the Yard across Quincy street and has more of a neighborhood feel compared to the other freshman dorms. A plus is that you won’t have any tourists sticking their phones up to your window, trying to snap a pic of your dorm room.


Typical housing style: Suites of four arranged in two doubles around a common room with in-suite bathroom.

Nearby: Food!! (Zinneken's, Berryline, Kung Fu Tea), The Barker Center, Lamont Library

Amenities: Home to WHRB, Harvard’s student-run radio station.

Fun facts: Pennypacker only has one central staircase, so you will be running into everyone. At all times.


Typical housing style: Suites of typically six people with an in-suite bathroom.

Nearby: Food!! (Hong Kong, Santouka), Lamont Library, Barker Center

Amenities: Laundry room, it’s very own ~lawn~

Fun facts: Everyone in Hurlbut is really close since there’s a backstair case that connects the suites together. We’ve also heard it has a particularly noteworthy vending machine.


Typical housing style: Big suites, typically of six, with in-suite bathrooms. Also has singles, doubles, and triples that share a hallway bathroom.

Nearby: Barker Center, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard Art Museum, Lamont

Amenities: Laundry room

Fun facts: Greenough has giant windows in common rooms with lots of natural light. You might have a beautiful view of Harvard Art Museums!


Typical housing style: Suite style, typically of 4-5 people, with an in-suite bathroom.

Nearby: Basically every interesting store and restaurant on Mass. Ave, since Wigg takes up a large portion of the street. Particularly noteworthy is the proximity to J.P Licks (ice cream!!), the Smith Center, and a Harvard Shuttle stop at Widener Gate.

Amenities: Music practice rooms, printer in the basement of Wigg-let, laundry room in Big Wigg, air hockey & ping pong!!

Missing: Quiet — the T runs under Wigg so sometimes students can hear/feel the train.

Fun facts: Wigg is the second biggest of the first-year dorms, composed of three buildings: Wigglet, Mid Wigg, and Big Wigg. It is also the former home of Bill Gates.

Maple Yard

Maple Yard is the newest and coolest (literally true given that it has air-conditioning) Yard. It was created to house first-year student overflow, and contains some of the most coveted dorms. Unfortunately, all of Maple is away from the Yard like Crimson Yard, but the large rooms and numerous amenities make up for it.

The Inn

Typical housing style: Doubles with in-suite bathrooms

Nearby: Food!! (Tatte, J.P. Licks), Lamont Library

Amenities: Several large study and social spaces, laundry, and practice rooms

Missing: The coveted ~old and traditional~ Harvard vibes, since it looks like (and used to be) a modern hotel

Fun facts: Everyone will make fun of you when you tell them you’re from the Inn. But don’t worry, they’re really just jealous of your air-conditioning.


Typical housing style: Apartment style rooms with bathrooms, kitchens and many singles along with large open common rooms.

Nearby: Next door to Starbucks, Broadway Marketplace (a small grocery store), and Harvard Art Museums.

Amenities: Your own bathroom AND kitchen, printers, and singles.

Missing: Proximity to the Yard. Once you leave your dorm for the day, you are probably not coming back for a while. Even Prescott NARPS have an excuse to get a scooter, but this is just good preparation for upperclassmen House Life.

Fun facts: A full sized fridge?? A bathtub?? A literal monster sized room?? This is peak housing.

While there are pros and cons to each first-year dorm, we promise that each offers a unique experience and will serve as a warm welcome to your new Harvard home. Here are some Youtube videos (Straus, The Inn, Wigg) that we found helpful when scavenging the depths of the internet for dorm information the summer before moving onto campus — you might too!