How to Survive The Housing Lottery



The housing lottery, possibly one of the most stressful events that residential students can experience, is just around the corner.

While lottery numbers are expected to be distributed sometime this week, the actual selection process will not begin until Monday April 28th for Overlook Manor and Wednesday April 30th for Jasper, Horan and East Hill halls.

If you plan to spend your next undergraduate year living on-campus, there are a few key things that one should consider as the housing games, excuse me, lottery, approaches.

1. Your lottery number is not that important.

Whether you have a great lottery number or a miserable number, oftentimes, it just doesn’t make a difference. When vying for a specific room in Overlook, often, even with a low number, one will not be able to attain their desired room. This is because of the overwhelming number of homesteading students, as well as 12-month housing students, whom also receive priority in housing choices.

2. Talk to upperclassmen.

Don’t be embarrassed to talk to somebody older than you, especially if they’ve lived in a building you’re considering for next year. An upperclassman will more than likely steer you in the right direction. We know what building fits what personalities- and we’re pretty good at eyeballing what building could be a good fit for you.

3. Sometimes having fewer roommates is more fun.

If you’re moving to OV and thinking about a four, five or even six person room… you might want to think again. Before making it final, take into consideration that you are currently [probably] happy with your one direct roommate and or two suitemates if you live on campus. If moving up to Overlook on 238th St., you’re going to be sharing communal space with as many as five others. After a long day of classes and work, sometimes a little alone time is hard to find with five others.

4. Know your building.

As a senior who has spent a fair amount of time over the years in each residential building, I cannot stress how important it is to have a feel for your building, prior to moving in. Suite-style living is a much different in its atmosphere from apartment style living.

5. Have a back-up plan.

If you’re anticipating a six-person room in Overlook, but only three and five person rooms are left, what are you to do? Thinking about an alternate living situation on the spot can be hard, so do your best to consider alternate routes before the games, excuse me, lottery. And that goes for the other halls as well! Sometimes the doubles and triples sell out before the suites, so play it safe and have a back up plan.

6. Avoid the games, oops, lottery, altogether.

If another round of housing lottery is stressing you out, and you’re open to a little bit more independence, consider moving off-campus next year and forget about the games! If you missed the housing deposit deadline, don’t fret; this is a great option for those students as well. If the stars align, and a student can find an apartment with a reasonable rate, they may even find that their financial situation is less impaired when compared to leaving campus. But, be hesitant that you are aware of the college’s policy on financial impact regarding scholarships when moving off campus.


If for some reason your housing selection doesn’t go as you had planned, don’t worry. Sometimes the best results can come from things that are unplanned. Remember that in any situation, getting frustrated will not solve anything. Making the best of any situation can make a huge difference in a living situation, as well in in a classroom, workplace or almost any other experience throughout your day.

When it comes to the housing lottery, be mindful of who you are, what you are used to and what you think you will be comfortable with for your next year of on-campus living. Talk to an upperclassman, or ask an employee of the Office of Residence Life if you have any questions about the housing process.

Honest and open communication is the most important element in a discussion of rooming options, whatever number housing games this may be for you.

May the odds be ever in your favor!