Section: News

New housing lottery process embraces student seniority

New housing lottery process embraces student seniority

This year rising seniors participating in the housing lottery, including those seeking North Campus Apartments (NCAs), had to participate in the general lottery.

Previously, seniors hoping to live in NCAs were selected to participate in a separate lottery after completing required applications. The application asked students questions about why they wanted and deserved an NCA. Selected students were issued a separate NCA lottery number, which proved confusing for some, according to Lisa Train, associate director of housing and residential life. 

Train said ResLife made the change to eliminate a process that created more work for students and College employees. The housing and dining committee received negative feedback from students about the application process.

The change was announced via a Student-Info email on Feb. 25.

With the NCAs lumped into the general lottery, the Tuesday-night selection process included all seniors eligible for the lottery.

Train said the seniors with approximately the first 120 numbers selected apartments. All apartments save for 17 New Apartments have been filled.

The Feb. 25 email also stated that, starting this year, students who chose roommates in lower class years would be pushed to the end of their class lottery. Even if a rising senior had their class’s first lottery number, if they chose to live with a rising junior they would not be able to select their room until the rest of the senior class had gone. The same process applies for rising juniors selecting rising sophomore roommates.

Under the old system, underclassmen could be easily “pulled up” by friends with higher numbers, and sophomores and juniors could get prime housing despite their lower class status. Though underclassmen can still be housed before the rest of their class, the system works, in effect, to pull down upperclassmen who want to live with underclassmen friends.

Designed to make the process more fair for upperclassmen, some students do not think the new system is fair to those who want to live with their friends. Lewis Turley ’17 said the change directly affected his housing decision.

“I understand the sentiment,” Turley said, but “it feels like it’s forcing people to live together by their year.”

Turley lived with two senior friends this year and said it made a “huge difference” in where he was able to live. He wanted to live with underclassmen next year, in part to help them out and in part because they were his friends. Due to the changes in the lottery system, he chose to live with fellow rising seniors.

Tim Gruber ’17 said he thinks it is “ridiculous” that rooming with a younger friend should push students to the back of the selection process for their class, and does not take into account people who may be friends with younger students. Still, Gruber did think it was fair for seniors to have the best housing.

The new seniority process also affects how the other apartments are filled. Previously, apartments had to be half-filled with the selecting student’s class year, but the other half could be filled with underclassmen, which created inequities for seniors wanting to live in apartments but who were blocked out by underclassmen who had been pulled up, according to Train.

Now if a student wanted to do that, they would have to wait until all other students in their class had gone. At the lottery this year, most apartments were fully filled with seniors. Train called this a “true seniority” system, as rising seniors had the first pick of all apartments.

Next year, Train does not expect the College to have to rent off-campus housing on Wiggin Street and in the Village Inn building. The off-campus housing was necessary this year due to the fact that the larger-than-expected first-year class was assigned rooms in Mather Residence Hall usually occupied by sophomores, Train said.


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