The following is a step-by-step guide to the Housing Lottery. Understanding these steps ahead of time will make the Housing Lottery process a less stressful experience.
- Step 1: Decide where and with whom you would like to live.
- Step 2: Complete the Application Process.
- Step 3: Find out your Group's Lottery Number.
- Step 4: Reexamine possible room choices.
- Step 5: Show up for the lottery and select housing
- Step 6: Sign a housing contract
- Step 7: Enter the summer assignment process if you have not selected housing
Ask yourself the following questions:
- With whom would I like to enter the Lottery?
- What type of housing do I want and where do I want it to be on campus?
- What type of housing is realistic for me?
The first two questions are rather straightforward, but crucial to the Lottery process. You can enter the Lottery in a group of up to 12 students; however being in a group does not tie you to living with the other members of the group, only to picking housing at the same time as them.
All members of the group must choose housing at the same time. For example, a group of 6 can choose a 6 person suite, or they can choose 3 doubles, 2 doubles and 2 singles, or 6 singles. Also, in order to pick an apartment, suite, or room, a group must fill it to capacity with members. You will want to keep this in mind when deciding with how many people to group.
People often form groups larger than the available housing options in order to select at the same time or try to live near each other. One possible downside occurs if not all members of the group find housing they want at the time the group's Lottery number is called or if the currently available housing is not able to accommodate the number of members in the group (e.g., at the time a group of 1 student’s Lottery number is called, there are no singles remaining). In this case, the student must go on the waitlist, or they must drop down to combine with another group at a higher Lottery number to form a larger group (see Dropping Down). You should also be aware that it is possible for an individual or group with a better number to drop down and join a group or individual with a number which will be called later in the Lottery. For more information about this, see the Dropping Down section below.
All students in the group must be returning to Brown for the following Fall semester - those planning on taking leave or going abroad should not enter the lottery. Should a member of a group wish to change his or her Lottery assignment, withdraw from the University, or move off campus, the remaining group members may forfeit their room or apartment based upon individual review by the Office of Residential Life. Be careful when forming groups. If a student's name appears in more than one group, all groups in which his or her name appears may be declared invalid and ineligible for the Lottery.
You should also be aware that it is possible for an individual or group with a better number to drop down and join a group or individual with a number which will be called later in the Lottery. For more information about this, see the Dropping Down section on the About the Lottery page. Also, be careful when forming groups. If a student's name appears in more than one group, all groups in which his or her name appears may be declared invalid and ineligible for the Lottery.
Determining what type of housing you want takes some research. You must decide both the types of rooms (single, double, suite, etc) as well as the residence halls in which you would like to live. Research the different residence halls by reviewing the Residential Council web site, by talking to students who currently live there, by touring the halls with a member of the Residential Council (see the Residential Council web site for dates), by visiting the halls on your own, and by reading floor plans of different halls, which are available in Residential Life and on the Residential Life web site (during Lottery season).
The third question is slightly harder, especially if you have never gone through the Housing Lottery before. Unfortunately, it is not possible for everyone to get exactly the housing he or she wants. A group of rising sophomores, for instance, will almost definitely be unable to select a Young Orchard Apartment. Try to be as prepared and flexible as possible. At this time, make a list of possible room choices in the order in which you prefer them. Remember that your choices may be taken by the time you pick your room so try to remain flexible and have a list of back-up rooms you could choose. It is wise to make sure your list includes several choices that you are fairly confident will be available at your Lottery number. It can be difficult to choose rooms that meet your needs at the Lottery, and when your number is called, you must be prepared to select housing.
To get a general idea of what might be available to members of your class, visit the Residential Council web site and review the results from previous years. You may also want to ask upperclassmen who have gone through the Lottery process before or ask ResCouncil members directly in the Lottery forum. Then, research which rooms specifically will best suit your needs and which rooms you have the best chance of selecting. You can check out floor plans provided by the Office of Residential Life, talk to older friends, knock on peoples' doors to ask to see their rooms. You may also want to ask questions or seek advice in the Lottery forum or research individual rooms on ResCouncil's Room Review.
Once you decide with whom you would like to group, you must fill out the Housing Lottery application. The application will be available on the Residential Council web site. You have the option of filling out the online form or downloading and filling out a printable copy and returning it to the Office of Residential Life. It is strongly recommended that you submit the online form. On the form, you will need to list the full name, student identification number (Brown ID number), gender, phone number, and semester level of everyone in the group. The due date for the Lottery application can be found on the Residential Calendar.
In order to be fair to all students, Residential Life is serious about its deadlines. Don't be late in submitting your Housing Lottery application or bringing in all other forms that may be required. The deadlines were made to be as late as possible, while still allowing Residential Life to complete the necessary work on time. As such, no forms can be accepted after the date and time listed herein as the deadline. Please be advised!
Your group's Lottery number determines when your group is able to choose housing. The group with the lowest Lottery number picks first from the available rooms, the second lowest number picks next, etc. The Lottery will take place over two nights. You will be sent an email informing you which night you are on and approximately what time your number will be called.
Before the first night of the Lottery takes place, Residential Life will post a list of all the groups and their Lottery numbers as well as a list of available rooms and suites and any designation (gender-neutral optional, sophomore-only, gender specific, etc) that goes along with them on the Residential Council website.
For more information on how Lottery numbers are generated, please read the Priority Numbers and Lottery Numbers section in About the Lottery.
Once you have found out your Lottery number, you should reexamine your ordered list of housing preferences to make sure it is both comprehensive and realistic. If you are picking on the second day of the Lottery, visit the Residential Council web site after the first night of the Lottery and remove rooms on your list that have already been selected. If you received a higher (or lower) Lottery number than you anticipated, you should take the opportunity to add more options to the top or bottom of your list. Finally, it might be wise to double-check some of your preferences by revisiting rooms or taking another look at floorplans. You should be prepared to walk into the Lottery with a realistic, ordered list of housing preferences that everyone in your group agrees upon.
When choosing housing, it is vitally important to do as much preliminary research as possible. Not only will this make the Lottery process go more smoothly for your group and the Office of Residential Life, but it will also ensure that you get the best room possible. The Lottery can seem to be a chaotic event, but it doesn't have to be. Keep a ranked list of preferences, crossing off rooms as they become unavailable, and know what you will select by the time your number is called. If you follow these guidelines and are courteous to those around you, the experience can be quick, efficient, and pleasant.
The Lottery will start promptly at 6:00 pm, and you must be present when your number is called or you will forfeit your right to select. We guarantee that the average Lottery pace will be no faster than 100 numbers per half-hour. That means that we will under no circumstances call number 101 before 6:30, number 201 before 7:00, etc. The Lottery will not necessarily move this quickly, but we are making this guarantee so that those with higher numbers can feel safe arriving a little later.
The Night of the Lottery
At the lottery, Residence Hall floorplans will be available, and Residential Council members will be on hand to answer any questions you have. The housing lottery program, which displays the available housing and the selections being made, will be shown on a projector. A broadcast will be available online at (URL) that will be updated as the lottery progresses.
Double-check your list of choices, as often minor changes are made to the information posted on the Residential Council website. Take note of rooms as they are taken and cross the off your priority list.
The Residential Council Lottery Chair will call out each group over the loudspeaker in the order of the groups' Lottery numbers. The name called will be that of the person listed as group representative. That person (or another member of the group) will go to the head table and tell the announcer what room(s) or suite(s) the group has chosen. YOU MUST KNOW YOUR CHOICE BEFORE YOU GET TO THE TABLE. After you have selected your room, the room number will be announced and removed from the display.
Your group must meet any further requirements of the apartment, suite, or room in which you will live. This includes, but is not limited to, meeting the requirements to select sophomore-only housing, gender specific housing, substance free housing, and quiet housing. If no group member responds to the calling of a group's Lottery number after the third announcement, the group will be declared a "No Show," meaning that the group has chosen not to select housing during the Lottery. A group may also elect to "Pass" when their Lottery number is called. Functionally, a "Pass" is treated the same as a "No Show", but notifying the announcer that you are passing is appreciated, because it helps keep the lottery running quickly. Finally, a group may also select to "Drop Down" when their number is called. For more information, see the Dropping Down section below.
It is possible in the Lottery for an individual or group with a better number to "drop down" and pick with a group or individual with a number that will be called later in the Lottery.
For example, if Susan has Lottery number 143 when her number is called she can choose to drop down and pick with Jane who has number 187. As a newly formed group of two, they will choose when Jane’s number 187 is called. For any member of the group to drop down, the entire group must drop down.
Dropping down is a good idea for individuals who wish to live near each other but did not enter the Lottery together or went into the Lottery hoping for singles but none are available when his or her number is called. Dropping down is only allowed during a group's turn (groups are not able to do so after they have passed or been declared a no show) , and a group may only drop down to a Lottery number of another group that agrees to the combination.
After you select your housing, you will be directed to Residential Life table where your room assignment will be recorded, and you will receive a lottery receipt. The group should return the lottery receipt to the Office of Residential Life when they come in to sign their housing contract.
After you choose a room, everyone in your group must fill out a Housing Contract Housing contracts, available in the Office of Residential Life, define housing obligations for the student and the university, and must be signed by every student living on campus. When coming in to sign your contract, the entire group must be present.
If some of the members of your group are currently on leave or abroad, you should complete the name and room assignment lineof a blank Housing Contract on their behalf. Do not sign this contract as it must be signed by the student themselves. They will need to sign their contract when they pick up their room key the following semester.
Read the contract and the handbook carefully as you are responsible for knowing the requirements and prohibitions of living in university housing. Although bills are paid on a semester basis, the room contract covers the entire academic year.
Please note, there is an important distinction made between those who are unable to select housing when their number is called and those who are able to select housing and choose not to. If, for example, you enter the lottery in a group of three and, when your number is called, only doubles are available, you are considered unable to select housing and will be assigned over the summer with the highest priority. However, if you are a "No Show" or elect to "Pass" when there is housing still available that you are able to select, you will be given lower priority. There is one exception: If, when your number is called, only triples and quads remain, you can elect to "Pass" and still receive highest priority during the summer assignment process. Please know that when making housing assignments through the summer assignment process, all attempts will be made to place students in semester level appropriate assignments. For more information, please see the Summer Assignment Process.