Frequently Asked Questions about Room Selection

Last updated: February 19, 2018

General Questions

Eligibility & Registration Questions

Room Availability Questions

Housing Lottery Questions

Groups

Registering at Columbia / Pulling CU students into the Barnard Housing Lottery


 

What is different about the Housing Lottery different from last year?
  • Students will be able to select online (you do not have to come to an in-person appointment, although staff will be available to assist you during your Time Slot) 
  • Students will select entire suites first in the 4, 5, & 6 Lotteries before selecting corridor-style & remaining suite-style housing in the 1/2/3 Lottery
  • Groups will share one Lottery Number & Time Slot (no individual Lottery Numbers)
  • Groups may not change members after the various deadlines to form Groups have passed
Why is the Housing Lottery different from last year?
The previous Housing Lottery process was always meant to be a temporary bridge between the former all-paper Housing Lottery and the time when Barnard would be able to purchase a housing software system that would meet the growing needs of the College. The previous Lottery website was built in-house by a Res Life staff member and is not supportable for the future.

After an extensive review of available commercial products, Barnard purchased housing software from StarRez. StarRez is the industry leader and is used at Columbia, NYU, Fordham, and other schools across NYC and the rest of the country. There was no software product available that would exactly replicate the previous Lottery process. Barnard worked with StarRez to create the best possible process that is currently supported by the software.
How much will the rooms cost for the 2018-2019 academic year?
Room rates for 2018-2019 will be posted here once announced by the Board of Trustees.
Can I apply for the Social Justice House?
The Social Justice House will not be taking applications for the 2018 - 2019 year. We are looking forward to continuing to implement a residential curriculum to include and encourage social justice programming across all residential spaces on campus.
Am I eligible to participate in Room Selection if I currently live at International House or the Bayit?
No, neither International House nor the Bayit are considered on-campus housing, which means that students who live in these locations are not eligible for Room Selection.
May I still live in Barnard campus housing if I start a dual degree program at Columbia? (SEAS & SIPA)
Students may no longer live in Barnard campus housing after starting the SEAS or SIPA portion of a dual-degree. Students who select housing and then confirm enrollment to start in a dual-degree program at SEAS or SIPA will cancelled from the Barnard room assignment and are responsible for securing housing elsewhere.
What if I forget to register for Room Selection? (1pm on Wednesday, February 28 through 1pm on Wednesday, March 7, 2018)
Unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in Room Selection, nor can the College guarantee your housing for the 2018-2019 academic year. You may apply for housing on the Non-Guaranteed Housing Wait List and assignments (if available) will be emailed in mid-August.
What do I do if I try to register for Room Selection and I get an error message? (or it doesn't give me the option of registering?)
Don't panic! No system is foolproof. If you have any problems trying to register, please come to the Residential Life & Housing office (110 Sulzberger), call Residential Life & Housing at 212-854-5561 or email housing@barnard.edu. Please register well in advance of the deadline! If you wait until the last minute, the Residential Life & Housing office may not be available to assist you.
Why are some rooms / suites not available to pick during the Housing Lottery?
Rooms/suites may be assigned before the Housing Lottery due to RA assignments (and RA pull-ins) and disability housing accommodations (and pull-ins). Additionally, some rooms/suites may be held from the Lottery in order to have space to balance the BC/CU Housing Exchange, to hold rooms with accessibility features (ex. strobe alarms) for later disability housing assignments, and/or to cluster spaces for incoming transfer students.
Can I just stay in my same room for next year?
If your current room is available to pick during your Lottery Time Slot, then you may pick it (note: you still have to completely move everything out for the summer). However, there is no way to guarantee living in the same room again for the following academic year. First Year students may not continue to live in First Year Focus (Brooks, Reid, and Sulzberger) for the following year.
Why are some rooms in the same line at 110th St. singles vs. doubles on different floors?
Barnard rents the apartments at 110th Street and does not own the building. The landlord dictates the occupancy of each space, according to contracts which were signed in different years. This is why some rooms in a line may be singles on one floor and doubles on another (ex. 4J1 & 7J1 are doubles, but 5J1 is a studio single).
Which bathrooms will be designated Female & Gender-Inclusive in Hewitt, Sulz Tower, and Elliott for 2018-2019?
  • Hewitt: the bathrooms on 2, 4, 6, and 8th floors will be designed Gender-Inclusive and the bathrooms on the 3, 5, & 7th floors will be designated Female.
  • Sulz Tower: the bathrooms on the 10, 12, 14, & 16th floors will be designed Gender-Inclusive and the bathrooms on the 9, 11, 13, & 15th floors will be designated Female.
  • Elliott: the bathroom closest to rooms number 1-10 will be designated Gender-Inclusive and the bathroom closest to rooms number 12-21 will be designed Female.
Which buildings do rising-Sophomores (or Juniors or Seniors) get to pick into? Will I be able to pick a Single?
The rooms that students of various class years are able to pick varies from year to year as students pick in different patterns. Where the rising-Juniors can pick depends on which spaces are picked first by the Rising-Seniors, and so forth.

The rule of thumb is that suites made up of all singles tend to get picked before suites made up of singles & doubles, and those suites tend to get picked before suites made up of all multiples (although that is not a hard and fast rule as older students may pick based on building location instead of room sizes). Similarly, corridor singles tend to be picked before corridor multiples.

Sulz Tower and the higher floors of 620 w/ suites of all singles tend to be picked first and fill up before all rising-Seniors have picked. There are usually more students who wish to live in singles than the number available to pick during the Lottery and many rising-Sophomores are only able to pick into a multiple (or sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List).
Am I guaranteed to be able to pick a room at the Housing Lottery? Am I guaranteed to be able to pick a Single?
Each year the number of students registered for the Lottery exceeds the number of available spaces. This is because:
  • Many students will pick rooms at the Lottery and then later cancel housing (to move off-campus, study abroad, withdraw, etc.)
  • Some rooms need to be held from the Lottery to reserve space to balance the BC/CU Housing Exchange, to hold rooms with accessibility features (ex. strobe alarms) for later disability housing assignments, and/or to cluster spaces for incoming transfer students.
This means that the spaces available to pick during the Lottery will "run out" before all students get a change to pick. Around 80 - 120 rising-Sophomores each year with the highest Lottery numbers will not be able to pick a room during their Time Slot.

There are also a limited number each type of room (ex. singles). There are typically more students who wish to live in singles than the number available at the Lottery, so students are not guaranteed to be able to pick into a single (which is why students are encouraged to form 2-person groups for the 1/2/3 Lottery, to give them the ability to choose a double together if there are no singles available to choose during their Time Slot).

Students who are not able to pick a room (or who do not wish to choose from the available spaces during their Time Slot) will sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List. They will fill out a form to provide housing preferences in order to be assigned over the summer. Students on this list are guaranteed to be assigned to a space over the summer.

Please see http://barnard.edu/reslife/roomselection/lottery#guaranteed_assignment_list for more information.
Can I trade Lottery Numbers with another student? If a friend is not planning to pick at the Lottery, can I use their number instead?
Lottery numbers & Time Slots are non-transferable and cannot be traded between students or groups.
Do groups or 2 or 3 pick before Individuals during the 1/2/3 Lottery?
No. During the 1/2/3 Lottery, the Lottery Numbers & Time Slots will run in random order by Class Year for all students, regardless if they are an individual or in a 2- or 3-person Group. Note: Groups will share one Lottery Number & Appointment Time.
This is different than the 4, 5, and 6 Lotteries, where 4-person Groups will pick first, then 5-person Groups, and then 6-person Groups.
Does every student get their own Lottery Number?
No. If you are in a Group, your Group will be given one Lottery numbers & Time Slots to share. If you are are not in a Group, you would get an individual Lottery Number & Time Slot.
Can I pick into half of a double? (or 2 people pick a triple?)
No. Students must completely fill any room they wish to pick during the Housing Lottery. Students with Time Slots for the 1/2/3 Lottery as an individuals (not in a group) may not pick into multiples; however, they may sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List to be assigned to a space in a multiple over the summer.

This is why students are encouraged to form a 2- or 3-person group for the 1/2/3 Lottery. Students in a 2- or 3-person could pick singles during their shared Time Slot if available, but only students in a group would be able to pick into a multiple together if there are no singles available during their Time Slot.
If the student I picked with into a multiple occupancy room (corridor or suite) cancels, what happens to me?
You will likely receive a new roommate. Spaces that open up over the summer will be assigned to student on the Guaranteed Assignment List and/or Non-Guaranteed Wait List (ex. incoming Transfers, students returning after a leave of absence, commuters). Spaces that open up during the academic year will likely be filled by room changes or assignments to new Spring students. While the College always endeavors to alert students to a new assigned roommate with as much advance notice as possible, students with vacancies in their room must keep the space open and ready for assignment to another student at all times.
I'm graduating in February or planning on studying abroad for the Spring semester. If I have to sign a housing contact for the entire academic year, will I have to pay to cancel my housing for the Spring?
Spring housing assignments are automatically cancelled at no charge for students who submit Notices of Study Leave (NSL) by the deadline to go to a approved Barnard study abroad program for the Spring.

Students who graduate mid-year must submit a Housing Cancellation form by December 1, in order to avoid a cancellation fee.

Students who cancel their Spring housing for any other reason (to move off campus, to withdraw from the College, etc) will be charged cancellation fees. For more information, please visit http://barnard.edu/reslife/cancellations.
How long is my Time Slot to pick a room / suite?
Once your Time Slot starts, you have 30 minutes to pick and confirm a room.

Note: new Time Slots start approximately every 5 minutes. Other students may be trying to pick at the same time from Time Slots before or after your Time Slot.
What do I do if I miss (or do not pick during) my Time Slot?
Groups who do not pick during a Time Slot for the 4, 5, or 6 Lottery may form a larger Group (ex. add a student to turn a 4-person into a 5-person Group) to get another Time Slot for a later Lottery stage OR participate in the 1/2/3 Lottery.

Individuals or 2- or 3-person Groups who do not pick during their Time Slot for the 1/2/3 Lottery would have to sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List in order to receive a room assignment over the summer for the next academic year.
If I do not pick during a Time Slot for the 4/5/6 Lottery, do I keep the same Lottery Number for a later stage of the Lottery?
No. New Lottery Numbers & Time Slots are generated for each stage of the Housing Lottery. For example, if you are part of a 4-person group but do not pick during the 4 Lottery, you would be generated a new Lottery Number & Time Slot if you add members to become a 5- or 6-person group. Or, if you form a 2- or 3-person group (or stay as an individual) for the 1/2/3 Lottery.
After I choose a room/suite, can I change my selection later? (or sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List instead?)
All selections are binding and final. Once you pick a room or suite, you may not change your selection during the Lottery. Additionally, once you choose a room or suite, you may not cancel that room to be on the Guaranteed Assignment List instead.

Rising-Seniors only may request room changes over the summer. Rising-Juniors & Sophomores may apply for the Studio Single Wait List or an Intra-Suite Room Change over the summer.
I might study abroad for the Fall -- should I pick a room during the Lottery?
Yes! Students who might study abroad for the Fall should still participate in Room Selection to have a room for the Fall in case they do not end up going abroad.  If you are accepted into your program and submit the Notice of Study Leave (NSL) form to confirm, the College will automatically cancel the space you picked for the Fall (and someone will be assigned to that space over the summer). If you return to campus for the Spring, you may submit a Housing Application for Spring assignment. If you are abroad for the full year, you would take part in next year's Room Selection to secure housing for the following Fall.

See also:  If I will be studying abroad for the Fall, can I pick into a suite with a group of friends and get into that room when I return in the Spring (after cancelling my Fall housing)?
How is the Class Year standing determined for a Group? (Group Point Average)
Class year standing for a group is determined by dividing the total of the individual class year points by the size of the group. See https://barnard.edu/reslife/roomselection/lottery#group-point-averages.
If I'm in a group of 5 students, can we pick a 6-person suite and get assigned a 6th person from the wait list?
No. During the 4, 5, & 6 Lotteries Groups may only pick suites that match the size of their Group (ex. a 5-person Group may only pick a 5-person Suite).

However, 2-, 3-, 7- and 9-person suites are part of the 1/2/3 Lottery and may be picked into by individuals and 2- & 3-person groups. There may also be spaces leftover to pick in RA suites and suites where Pre-Lottery disability housing accommodations were made.

Note: students must completely fill any rooms picked during the 1/2/3 Lottery, so they cannot pick half of a double or one or two students into a triple.
If I'm in a group of students, can we pick an entire suite (or room) and hold a space for a student who is requesting to return from a Leave of Absence or who currently lives off-campus?
No, groups may only select suites (or rooms) that have the same number of spaces as group members (for example, a 5-person suite for a 5-person group). Students who are currently not enrolled or who live off-campus may not be part of groups for the Housing Lottery. If they apply for the non-Guaranteed Wait List, they will be assigned over the summer (space permitting).
If I will be studying abroad for the Fall, can I pick into a suite with a group of friends and get into that room when I return in the Spring (after cancelling my Fall housing)?
Probably not. Students who may be studying abroad for the Fall are encouraged to go through Room Selection and select a room as a backup in case they do not end up going abroad. However, if you select into a suite with a group of friends and then cancel your housing assignment once you confirm your Fall study abroad, that room will be assigned to a student from the Guaranteed Assignment List (or a Fall transfer, student requesting to return from a Leave of Absence, etc.) as a full-year room assignment (i.e. Res Life would not force that student to move out of the room to make a vacancy for you in the Spring). The space you picked cannot be kept empty for the Fall semester for you to return to in the Spring.

Your best bet is to find a friend who is planning on studying abroad for the SPRING. That student could be in a Group with your friends to pick a suite (and you can choose a backup room elsewhere on your own or sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List in case you don't go abroad for the Fall). Then, you can request on your Spring Housing Application to be assigned to that suite when you return (into the vacancy created by that other student leaving to study abroad for the Spring). Please note that the occupants of the suite would need to mutually request you by submitting a Roommate/Suitemate Request Form (before December 1).

Note: while students may make informal pacts like above, they cannot be enforced by the College if students choose not to go abroad for the Spring or a suite decides not to mutually request a student returning from a Fall Study Abroad, etc.
If I sign up for a suite with a group, which room within the suite am I going to live in?
The assignment of rooms within a suite is entirely up to the Group. When you select the suite, your Group must assign the members to the particular rooms within the suite. Please make sure that your Group talks beforehand about who wants to live in singles vs. doubles, the size or arrangements of rooms, etc; because you will not have a lot of time to finalize those decisions when your Time Slot comes.

After your Group has confirmed who is going into which room during the Lottery, those assignments cannot be changed until the Summer Room Swap Request process.
How are Groups with members of different Class Years prioritized for Lottery Numbers?
For Groups made up of students from different Class Years, a Group Point Average will be calculated to determinate priority for Lottery Numbers. For more information, check out
If I just want to pick as an individual, do I have to form a 1-person group?
No. If you wish to pick as an individual during the 1/2/3 Lottery, you do not have to form a 1-person group.

Note: students are encouraged to form 2-person groups for the 1/2/3 Lottery. Because students must fill any room they wish to select during the Lottery, only a group of 2 could pick into a double. But a group of 2 could also choose to pick 2 singles, so being in a 2-person group would give you more flexibility.
What is "the Cap?" How many Barnard students will be able to pick at CU (and vice-versa)?
Barnard students may live at Columbia (and vice-versa) through the Barnard / Columbia Housing Exchange. Each campus must exchange an exact equal number of students for the exchange to work.

This means that if more Barnard students register for the Columbia Lottery than vice-versa, the number of Barnard students allowed to pick with groups at Columbia cannot exceed the number of Columbia students registered for the Barnard Lottery. For example, if 15 Barnard students register for the Columbia Lottery and only 8 Columbia student register for the Barnard Lottery, the maximum number of Barnard students who will be allowed to pick with groups at Columbia cannot exceed 8. This number varies from year to year and cannot be predicted prior to Lottery Registration at both schools being completed.
If I pick with my friends at Columbia Room Selection, do I lose my ability to go through Barnard Room Selection next year?
No. As long as you pick into a Columbia residence hall through the Columbia Lottery process (or have a Greek or SIC placement) and continue to live in campus housing for the entire academic year, you will be eligible to go through Barnard (or Columbia) Room Selection again for the following year. If you cancel housing to move off-campus or withdraw from the College, you will cease to have a guarantee of housing and will not be eligible to participate in Room Selection.
If I pull one or more Columbia students into a Barnard group, is it guaranteed that we'll be able to select together?
Unfortunately not. Groups who want to pull in CU students for the Barnard Lottery may not be able to pick together if a) no more suites match the Group size or b) there were more CU students who registered for the Barnard Lottery than vice-versa and the "Cap" (see above) on the number of CU students who may pick at Barnard has been reached (this is usually not the case as typically more Barnard students register for the Columbia Lottery than vice-versa).
Are Columbia students' class years counted as part of a Group's Class Year Points average?
Yes. The Class Year of any Columbia students in a Barnard Lottery Group is factored into the Group's Point average. For example, a group of three Barnard rising-Juniors and one Columbia rising-Sophomore would have a Group Point Average of 175 (200 + 200 + 200 + 100 divided by 4).