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About the Lottery

Philosophy

The intent of the Housing Lottery is to give students direct control over room selection for the following year. The Lottery gives students with the best (lowest) Lottery number the first chance to choose a room. The Lottery is intended to be as fair as possible according to randomly generated Lottery numbers. Brown's Lottery system gives a great deal of responsibility to students. Because students choose the exact room in which they will live for the next academic year and are responsible for deciding exactly who they will include in their Housing Lottery groups, students must fully investigate all of the available opportunities in order to determine their best approach in choosing their housing.

Priority Numbers and Lottery Numbers

Every student anticipated to be enrolled at the university for the following fall semester is assigned a random priority number by computer. This number determines the student's priority within his or her class (a lower number meaning a higher priority) for the Lottery. Priority in picking rooms is based upon the anticipated semester level of the student for the following fall semester - rising semester level 7 students (i.e., rising first semester seniors) have priority over rising semester level 6 students, who in turn have priority over rising semester level 5 students (i.e., rising first semester juniors), and so on. Individual priority numbers are not posted for any students.

Priority numbers for midyear transfer students are calculated in the same fashion as the rest of the student population. Provided that a midyear transfer student's anticipated semester level (i.e., the semester level he or she is anticipated to have the following fall semester) is the same as a student who entered the university the previous semester, the transfer student will have the same status during the Housing Lottery.

For example, if a student transfers to the university in January as a sophomore, but begins their time at Brown with course credit equivalent to a first semester sophomore (semester level 3), rather than as a second semester sophomore (semester level 4), then they will have an anticipated semester level of 4 for the upcoming Fall semester. In such a case, the transfer student would receive an individual priority number equivalent to those who are first semester juniors.

The table below shows common class to semester level conversions.

Upcoming Fall Semester Level Equivalent to
2 2nd semester first-year
3 1st semester sophomore
4 1st semester junior
5 1st semester junior
6 2nd semester junior
7 1st semester senior
8 2nd semester senior

The same priority numbers generated for the Lottery will be used for the summer assignment process. For more information on this process, see the Summer Assignment Process.

Lottery numbers are generated after the application process. Each group's Lottery number is calculated by averaging the priority numbers of the members of the group. This average is then ranked with the averages of all the other groups. This ranking is the group's Lottery number. Lottery numbers are posted in the North Wayland Foyer and on the Residential Council web site prior to the first night of the Lottery. Lottery numbers are called in order, starting with the lowest number, during the Lottery.

Binding Selections

All selections made at the Lottery are binding and final. Once a group declares their housing choice(s) the night of the Lottery, this housing choice becomes binding for the following academic year. A group or group member cannot rescind this selection, nor can any member of a group that selected housing during the Lottery enter the summer assigmnet process. When a group representative selects housing, this selection is binding for all members of the group, as if each individual had made the selection himself or herself. Once housing is selected, the only method of changing this selection is the Room Change Request Process.

As of June 15, 2015 at least 50% of the students who selected any given room, suite, apartment must still be actively enrolled at the university. In the event that less than 50% of the occupants of the space are returning for Fall semester, the remaining assignments will be cancelled. 

50% equates to 1 student in a double, 2 in a triple, 2 in a quad, 3 in a quint, 3 in sextet, 4 in a septet, and 4 in an octet.

The remaining students will be contacted to complete a housing preference form (as a group or individually) by June 15, 2015 and will be placed in priority group 1 (see the Summer Assignment Process ). Groups would have the original Lottery numbers of each member averaged to determine their placement within group 1.

Study Abroad Students, Leaves, and Proxies

If You Are Currently Abroad or Taking a Leave of Absence

Students currently on leave or abroad must have a projected readmit date of Fall 2014 in the Dean of the College's records. Students without a projected readmit date will be ineligible to participate in the Lottery. If the student's status changes after the Lottery, they will need to go through the summer assignment process(see the Summer Assignment Process for more information) to be assigned housing over the summer.

If You Are Going Abroad or Taking a Leave Beginning Fall 2015

If you are leaving Brown for either Semester I or for the entire academic year, you are not eligible to select a room in the Lottery process. If you do choose a room in a multi-occupied space (suite, apartment, double, triple, quad) and then decide to leave for part or all of the coming year, then your roommate(s) or suitemates will have the opportunity to choose a new resident. To do this, they must complete a Vacancy Pull-In Form, requesting a new roommate/suitemate. To guarantee approval of the request, the form must be submitted by the stated deadline (see the Residential Calendar for more information). Vacancy Pull-in Forms received after this date will still be considered however no guarantee can be made regarding approval as the requested space may have already been assigned during the summer assignment process. If the room you selected is a non-suite/apartment single, it will be assigned by Residential Life to a student from the summer assignment process.

If You Are Returning to Brown Spring Semester

Unless plans were made in advance, you will be assigned to a room by the Office of Residential Life through the mid-year assignment process. If you believe you know of a bed in a suite that will open that semester, you should have the other members of the suite submit a Vacancy Pull-In Form, requesting you as their new roommate/suitemate. To guarantee approval of the request, the form must be submitted by the stated deadline (see the Residential Calendar for more information). Vacancy Pull-in Forms received after this date will still be considered, however no guarantee can be made regarding approval as the requested space may have already been assigned during the assignment process. Otherwise, the mid-year assignment process is the only method of receiving housing for the second semester; it is not possible to select a room in the Lottery for second semester only. You will need to submit a housing preference form by the stated deadline to guarantee housing upon your return in the Spring (see the Residential Calendar for more information). For more information about the waitlist process, see the Summer Assignment policy.