Residential Life

Brown’s housing selection process offers students the opportunity to choose the exact room in which they will live.

Room selection is the process by which continuing Brown University students select on-campus housing for the following academic year. Students studying abroad in the fall or students who have received off-campus approval will not participate in the room selection process.

The Housing Lottery consists of two phases:

Phase One: Group Formation

Thursday, July 8 to Wednesday, July 14

You can enter the Lottery in a group of up to 8 students, or you can enter alone as a group of one (1). Being in a group does necessarily not tie you to living with the other members of the group, only to picking housing at the same time as them.

Group Leader

Make sure you have spoken with all members of your housing group and have chosen a Group Leader. This person will form the group.

If you are entering the housing lottery by yourself as a group of one, you will automatically become the Group Leader.

Selection Time

At your group’s assigned Selection Time, your Group Leader must select room combinations that exactly fill the entire space for each room chosen (e.g., a 6 person suite must be filled with 6 people).

It may become the case that not all members of the group will find desired housing at Selection Time, or that the currently available housing is not able to accommodate the number of group members (e.g., if there are no remaining singles, and the group is just 1 person). In this case, the student must go through the late assignment process, or they must drop down to combine with another group at a higher lottery number to form a larger group (see “Dropping Down” in Phase Two).

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 their 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.

Once you decide with whom you would like to form a group, you must fill out the Housing Lottery application. The Group Leader should be the first member to log in and create the group. In order to do this, they will need Brown ID numbers from all group members prior to signing in. Once the Group Leader has formed the group, the remaining members will need to log in and agree to the group setup.

No forms can be accepted after the date and time listed herein as the deadline.

Priority Numbers

Priority Numbers are first randomly assigned to every participating Junior and Senior student based on their anticipated fall semester level. Lower numbers imply greater priority within the ordering of the selection process. Priority Numbers are based on seniority (higher class standings will have greater priority). Semester levels are calculated as follows, for both current and transfer students alike:

Upcoming Fall Semester Level

Equivalent to


2nd semester first-year


1st semester sophomore


1st semester junior


1st semester junior


2nd semester junior


1st semester senior


2nd semester senior

Lottery Numbers

Next, Lottery Numbers are generated for each group. A group’s Lottery Number will average each Junior and Senior member’s Priority Number and then be ranked against the averages of all other groups.  The groups are completely randomized for the Sophomore process. Lottery Numbers and group selection times will be listed on the Residential Life website prior to the first day of lottery, based upon the last name of the Group Leader. This individual will have to select housing for their entire group at their assigned time.

Phase Two: Room Selection

Wednesday, July 21 to Friday, July 23

Your group's Selection Time determines when your group is able to choose housing. The group with the earliest lottery time picks first from the available rooms, with subsequent groups--two sophomore and two junior/senior--selecting every two minutes. The Lottery will take place over three to four days. You will be sent an email informing you which night you are on and what time you can select. We anticipate that selection times will be sent to students on Monday, July 19, 2021.

Before the first day of the Lottery, Residential Life will post a list of all the groups and their Selection Times as well as a list of available rooms and suites and any designation (sophomore vs. junior/senior) that goes along with them.

We recommend researching available housing options prior to Room Selection. Research the different residence halls by talking to students who currently live there and by reading floor plans of different halls available at the Department of Facilities Management.

Once you have found out your Selection Time, you should reexamine your list of housing preferences to make sure it is both comprehensive and realistic. Continue to monitor what has been chosen up until your assigned Selection Time; our office will update the list of rooms throughout lottery. You should be prepared to enter the Lottery with a realistic 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. Keep a ranked list of preferences, crossing off rooms as they become unavailable, and know what you will select once it is your turn.

After you select your housing, you will receive an auto response from our office informing you of your assignment for the upcoming year.


Lottery FAQs

Housing selection will take place from Wednesday, July 21 - Friday, July 23 from 2pm - 4:30pm ET each day. During these times new groups will enter the portal every two minutes to select housing.

Your lottery group leader will enter the portal at your selection time, search for available housing, and select the housing for your group. They will also assign each group member to specific room spaces before confirming the choices and locking them in. Only the group leader will enter the portal.

Once you've formed your group, no formal action is needed on your part. We do encourage you to talk openly and honestly with your group leader about the housing you want. 

You can transfer group leadership by having emailing [email protected] in advance and confirming the change you wish to make. Please note that our response times will not be instant so we encourage you to make any requests as far in advance as possible. 

Please also note we will need all group members to agree to the change before we can make it.

No. Your time slot represents the earliest time the portal will be open to select housing. While new groups will enter the portal every two minutes during the selection windows, you will not be blocked from the portal until lottery concludes.

The lottery housing selection portal will close at 11:59pm ET on Sunday, July 25, 2021.


At that time, lottery groups are dissolved and individuals who have not selected housing will go through the late assignment process. There are no exceptions to the portal closure.

Housing Lottery Buildings and Units Available
Sophomore Barbour, Buxton, Caswell, Chapin, Diman, Goddard, Grad Center A, Grad Center B, Grad Center C, Harkness, Hope, Littlefield, Minden, New Pembroke 3, Olney, Perkins, Sears
Junior/Senior 315 Thayer, Gregorian Quad A, Gregorian Quad B, Grad Center C, Hegeman, Minden, New Pembroke 1, New Pembroke 2, Slater, Young Orchard 2, Young Orchard 4, Young Orchard 10


If you are unable to select housing because of a mismatch between your group's configuration and the housing available you have two options.

  1. Drop down. This is when a group with an earlier selection time "drops down" and merges with a group picking later during the lottery. This is a good idea for individuals who decide they want to live near each other after entering the Lottery separately, or for single-seeking individuals if there are no singles available when their selection time comes. Please note that dropping down involves joining a group picking later; it is not possible to "drop up" and join a group picking earlier. If you decide to drop down, please contact [email protected] copying all members of both groups. Please make your request as soon as possible and with as much advanced notice as possible, as it does take a while for our staff to make these changes
  2. Enter the late assignment process (detailed below)

Groups of one (students going through lottery on their own without other group members) can only select standalone singles in the housing lottery. They cannot select singles within suites.