Upper-level Housing at Harvard

Category Student Voices


Perrin Class of '23 Alumni
Authored on October 27, 2021


Have you ever wondered what housing looks like for undergraduate students at Harvard? Read on to get an inside look at one of the many Harvard dormitories and learn about the Harvard Undergraduate Housing Renewal Project!

At Harvard College, the housing system is highly unique. First-years are assigned to dormitories in Harvard Yard, and everyone eats together in Annenberg Hall, the first-year dining hall. (Many think it looks like Hogwarts!) First-years are meticulously placed with their roommates based on a survey they take the summer before their first semester. The First-Year Experience Office makes these matches, and often first-year roommates become life-long friends!

Harvard's Annenberg Dining Hall

Annenberg Dining Hall

Harvard's dining hall for first-year students.

Once you become an upper-level student (a sophomore, junior or senior), you live in one of the houses. On Housing Day during your first year, you find out what house you have been placed into and this house becomes your smaller residential community within Harvard College for the next three years. I was placed into Adams House, one of the oldest of the twelve houses located right in the heart of Harvard Square just across from the Yard. 

Currently, and for the past few years, the upper-level houses have been undergoing renovation. Most of the undergraduate houses by the river were built almost a century ago. The Harvard Undergraduate Housing Renewal Project began in 2012. Today, Dunster House, Winthrop House, and Lowell House have been completely renovated. Adams House is now being renovated. Phase 1 was completed this past March; Claverly Hall is now renovated and houses Adams students, while Randolph Hall, directly adjacent to Claverly, is currently under construction. Adams is comprised of multiple different buildings (Claverly Hall, Randolph Hall, Russell Hall, and Westmorly Hall) which are all being renovated after each other. 

Claverly Hall at night from Mt. Auburn Street

Claverly Hall

Claverly Hall at night from Mt. Auburn Street Perrin Price

Since construction limits the space available in Adams House for students, some are living in what we call “swing housing”. This is a term that describes housing that is not normally part of the Adams House but is being used by Adams House temporarily to house students who cannot live in the Adams buildings due to the construction.

All the renovated houses include new spaces for students to study, relax and enhance their residential experience. I live in Claverly Hall, the first building finished by the Adams House renewal project. What I love most about living in Claverly is how much the spirit of Adams still exists even though the building has new furnishings and new spaces. Claverly used to have a pool, way back in the day, and the ambience of this pool room was captured in the renovations with the new pool room, a study space for Adams House residents. It features enhanced lighting and high-top chairs- a great venue for study breaks! 

Adams House Pool Room (Study Space) in Claverly Hall

Adams House Pool Room

Adams House Pool Room (Study Space) in Claverly Hall Perrin Price

I live in a three-person suite in Claverly Hall. A huge staircase is at the center of Claverly Hall, a feature preserved in the renovations from the old building. 

Main entrance to Claverly Hall and the main staircase

Main staircase of Claverly Hall

Main staircase at the entrance of Claverly Hall Perrin Price

Claverly Hall is comprised of mostly suites, which include bathrooms and a common room for all suitemates to share. Many other houses have suites with common rooms and bathrooms as well. 

Common room of a suite in Claverly Hall

Claverly Hall Suite Common Room

Common room of a triple suite in Claverly Hall Perrin Price

One of students' favorite things to do is decorate their rooms. I decided to decorate with lots of lights!

A desk decorated with lights and motivational quotes

Decorated desk in my dorm

My desk with lights and motivational quotes Perrin Price

A dorm room in Claverly Hall with decorations including lights and posters

My decorated dorm room

My dorm with lights and vintage posters Perrin Price

If we ever want to study outside our suite, we can use the Claverly Hall Menin Common Room on the first floor!

Claverly Hall Menin Common Room with furniture and a fireplace

Claverly Hall Menin Common Room

A furnished and aesthetic study space for students Perrin Price

We also have a great music practice room where I often go to write songs, sing and play guitar and piano. 


A music practice room in Claverly Hall for students to practice their instruments and sing

Claverly Hall Music Practice Room

Music practice space for Adams House students Perrin Price

All residential houses at Harvard have these amenities for students residing in the house. It is a wonderful way to foster community by having these shared spaces together. 

Of course, Claverly also features Adams House memorabilia so current students can see past Adams House events and students!

Pictures of former Adams House students participating in house wide events over the years

Adams House Photos in a Claverly Hallway

Pictures of former Adams House students and events Perrin Price

I am very happy to call Adams House my home and I love the community that has welcomed me here! Harvard’s unique housing system helps foster community and helps undergraduates truly feel at home at Harvard. 


  • Residential Life
  • Student Life

Perrin Class of '23 Alumni

Hi there! My name is Perrin and I am a recent graduate in the class of 2023.

Perrin Price