Housing Lottery

After their first year, students select on-campus housing through several phases of the Housing Selection process.

Students may choose to join a Greek Letter Organization or a Program House, choose special interest housing, or be selected as a Residential Peer advisor and be assigned a room.  Students may also enter “the Lottery” to select a room – some enter individually to select a single room, others enter with a friend or group of friends to select housing together. Detailed information about the Housing Lottery and the schedule is available on the Residential Life website.

First-year students may be particularly stressed by Housing Selection. Many move into their second semester feeling more comfortable at Brown; we then unsettle everything by asking them to select roommates and rooms for sophomore year. Deciding who is in your Lottery Group can be easy or emotionally fraught. Having never been through Lottery before, the unknown is ominous. The monster under the bed becomes "I'm going to end up with a hideous room, alone, and separated from all my friends." This first-year fear is not helped by the fact that older students like to share horror stories about Lottery.

Students may share their housing anxiety with parents, needing someone off campus to listen.  Most students, after unloading on a parent their worst fears and bleakest scenarios about housing, proceed to make decisions and complete their forms feeling lighter -- because they have given away their fears to someone else.  Please encourage your student to take advantage of information sessions, veteran advice, and on-line Q/A, and to talk with their Community Director or a staff member in Residential Life for information and problem solving assistance.

Housing Selection occurs by class year.  First-year students (i.e., rising sophomores) can pick rooms only from residence halls designated as sophomore housing. Sophomores and juniors (i.e., rising juniors and seniors) can pick only from residence halls designated as junior/senior housing.  This was a recent improvement, so that more sophomores live together; and to eliminate sophomores living randomly in single rooms in the midst of first-year halls isolated from other sophomores. By the end of March or early April, students are emailed with instructions to access the list of the rooms and buildings available to them. 

Students must apply for permission to live off-campus. The off-campus permission process begins in September for the following year’s housing. Approximately 70-80% of seniors live off campus in a given year. A number of juniors (perhaps 20% of the class) may receive permission to live off campus based on the numbers of students and housing available in each year.