For a college freshman, moving away to a university—especially to a large metropolis like New York City—is both an exciting and stressful time. Choosing the right student housing is just another hurdle in the process of ensuring your first year as a college student is a successful one. New York University’s campus is spread throughout Manhattan, but NYU’s central hub is clustered around Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. The university’s 21 dorms—eight of which are devoted to freshmen students—are scattered all over the city. Because each dorm is different in terms of amenities, community environment and campus proximity, it’s important to measure which elements are most important to you. For freshmen, the best dorms are arguably the ones closest to Washington Square Park that offer a combination of good facilities and top-notch amenities.

Goddard Residential College

Goddard is perhaps the most ideal of the freshman dorms located directly on Washington Square Park due to the fact that it is a small, community-driven dorm with only 200 students. It’s also NYU’s only “residential college” for first-year students. The residential college system is comprised of dorms that are organized around certain cultural and civic themes, such as environmentalism. Residents travel and work together on “streams” and can even earn college credit. Students must apply to be considered for placement in this close-knit community, which features double, triple, or quad suites with adjoining private baths.

Third Avenue North

According to, Third Avenue North was rated by NYU students as one of the top four dorms at the university, the only freshman dorm to make the list. It’s also huge—about 950 first-year students live here. While it’s not on Washington Square, it’s about a 10 minute walk from the park. The big appeal here is the apartment-style units, which feature two or three bedrooms, private kitchens, and some single rooms. Amenities include a dining hall, coffee shop, mini-theatre, dance studio, and outdoor courtyard. Also worth noting are the four “Explorations” floors, which have themes like “Screenwriters” and “Arts, Culture and the City.”

Founders Hall

Home to more than 700 first-year students, Founders Hall is a great choice because it is the newest freshman dorm on campus, completed in 2009, which means the facilities are modern and rooms are spacious. Located one block from Third Avenue North, Founders is within a 10-minute walk of Washington Square. There is no dining hall on campus and the double rooms and quad suites do not have kitchens, but the dorm is within walking distance of several university dining halls. Students here enjoy two Explorations floors. Architecturally, Founders has an interesting story. It is built on the former site of St. Ann’s Church, and the façade and fence of the cathedral were preserved and serve as the main entrance to the building. With 26 floors, some of the higher-floor rooms have great views of the city.

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