With the start of the University of Guelph’s autumn semester just over a month away, some incoming students are still waiting to see if the university will be able to accommodate them in residence.

The school says it isn’t able to accommodate all first-year students due to a record high enrollment.

One of the people left in limbo is Madeleine Essery, who says she was looking forward to the full first-year experience at U of G this fall.

“Through residence, you can make lifelong friends, and I think a lot of people really, really want that,” said Essery, who currently lives in Acton.

In June, Essery found out she had been waitlisted for a spot in residence.

“We went on a tour, and the tour guide was very clear that first-year students get residence,” said Kim Essery, Madeleine’s mom

She said she is currently third on the list and has moved up only two spots since being added.

“It’s so close but also so far,” said Essery.

The university says the waitlist is prioritized by proximity to campus.

In a statement, a spokesperson for U of G says they have “created approximately 400 additional residence spaces by increasing capacity in rooms. For example, covering double rooms to triples or converting small lounges and smaller multi-purpose spaces into comfortable, furnished bedrooms.”

The university said nearly 5,100 students will be living on campus this September. The usual occupancy is 4,600.

A nearby inn is being privately developed as a student housing space, but the university says it will not be ready for September.

The school says it has also contacted several local hotels looking for rooms. If spaces become available, students on the waitlist will be notified.


Essery says she was considering a gap year but wants to hold onto hope she will move up the list and get a spot in residence.

Her mom is less hopeful.

“We have to come up with a date to give up and move forward, we can’t wait until the last week of August and then she doesn’t have residence and has no way to get to school,” said Kim Essery.

Essery says if she can’t get a spot in residence, she will have to scramble to get her driver’s license if she is forced to commute.

“If I got a car I would still need to get insurance and there’s so many other things that need to be done,” said Essery.

“Should we have hope or just give up? That’s what I would like to know,” said Kim Essery.