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Applying for accommodation at Otago

Yellow Student flat

Click here to make an application for 2015

Are you eligible to apply?

  • This application is for accommodation only.
  • You may apply if you are a current or future student of the University of Otago.
  • As places are limited, students already attending the University of Otago will be considered as "Returners" and will be considered as vacancies arise in February and March.
  • Prospective students from other institutions may be eligible to apply for limited places in City College & Salmond College.
  • Foundation Students may apply for the 2015 June intake after the 1 April 2015 for residence with the University Flats.
  • For helpful information please check out our flowchart about the application process.

When to apply

Full Year and Semester One

  • Applications open on 1 August for the full academic year, or if you are eligible, for Semester One of the following year.
  • Postgraduate students are welcome to apply at any time for full academic year accommodation at Abbey College.

Semester Two

  • You may apply for Semester Two accommodation in April each year.

Closing dates

  • We recommend that applications for full academic year accommodation in the Residential Colleges are made before the end of September.
  • International Students eligible, for Semester One accommodation in the University Flats should apply before the 1 December each year.
  • We recommend that applications for Semester Two should be made before the 1 June each year.
  • Applications received after these dates will still be considered as places become available.

How to apply

  • The University of Otago requires applications to be made online. 
  • You must complete all questions on the application form in full, so that your application can be included in the selection process.  Incomplete applications cannot be considered.
  • If you attended a secondary school in 2013 or 2014 and are applying for a school leaver/undergraduate college, you must organise a Common Confidential Reference.  Students that attended a New Zealand Secondary School may start this process online and it will be forwarded to your school electronically for completion.  Please use this link:

What questions will I be asked?

Prospective first year students have eleven sections to complete.  These include:

  1. Initial registration - includes email address and date of birth.
  2. Personal details.
  3. Contact details - Mailing address and contact phone numbers, Home address.
  4. Legal guardian details - Name of guardian, relationship, their contact details.
  5. Institution you will be studying at - University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, or Foundation Studies.
  6. Proposed course of study.
  7. Residential College preferences - You will be asked to select three preferences.
  8. Responsibilities and interests - Up to 500 words
  9. Schooling - Name of school, the year you first started and what will be your final year e.g. 2012, student NSN (New Zealand school students only).
  10. Particular needs and requirements.
  11. Acknowledgment of application.

Essential elements

Before your application will be considered, you must complete the following steps:

  • Complete an online application form.
  • If you are applying for a Residential College, you will be required to indicate three college preferences.  If the colleges you have selected are unable to make you an accommodation offer, your application maybe considered by colleges that have vacancies. 
  • Places are limited, therefore we recommend that if you receive an offer from a college that was not your first preference, it should be accepted.
  • If you are a prospective first year student applying for a residential college, we require the Common Confidential Reference Form or two character references if you are not a school leaver.
  • If you are a New Zealand school leaver we will not accept any alternative forms.  The approved document may be completed online:
  • Ensure your reference, if required, is received by the Student Accommodation Centre.  You are responsible for ensuring that we receive your reference in time.
  • If you are transferring from another university, your application will be considered once you have confirmed entry to the University of Otago.  Please advise our office once this is confirmed.
  • We do not require references if you are an International Student applying for the University Flats.
    Postgraduate students applying for Abbey College need to provide contact details of an academic referee.