Room Selection is the process by which students select a room for the next academic year. There are six phases, each of which has a section in this article.
The order in which students select their room is determined by two numbers. First, students are subdivided according to their point value. Rising seniors get 30 points. Rising juniors get 20 points. Rising sophomores get 10 points. A student's status is determined based on the year he entered Columbia, not on the year he expects to graduate. If students form a group for a double or suite, the group point value is the average of its CC and SEAS members (but not Barnard members), unless they invoke the East Campus Exclusion Rule (see below).
Second, students are subdivided according to their randomly-assigned lottery number, which can range from 1 to 3000. Thus, a student with 30pts & #1 gets to choose his room before a student with 30pts & #3000, who in turn gets to choose his room before a student with 20pts & #1, and so on.
- The best strategy is to sign up for Group Suite Selection in a group of friends. Your group will get two shots at room selection. First, you can pick a double or suite in Group Suite Selection. Or, second, you can drop out of Group Suite Selection and pick a single in General Selection.
- The best group size is probably 2.
- It is especially important for rising sophomores to enter in a group, and, at best, a group of 2. Leaving out the chance of getting a good enough lottery number for Furnald, rising sophomores can only get good housing through the many doubles and small number of suites in Group Suite Selection. The only spaces left in General Selection are the doubles left over from Group Suite Selection. These are 'blind'; you will be with a stranger, unless you and a friend choose the same one.
- A group can raise its point value by taking juniors and seniors who plan to study abroad. This is unethical, but if other people do it, you at least have the right to know that it gets done.
- Apply for Barnard housing. They like to take Columbia students because then more Barnard students can live in Columbia housing (and there are many Barnard students who want to do so).
- Men and women may form groups together for Group Suite Selection and General Selection. However, doubles can only be assigned to students of the same gender.
For a double or a suite
Sign up for Group Suite Selection with your friends. Group sizes can range from 2 to 8. You'll only be able to pick a suite that exactly matches your group size. E.g., 2 people can only pick a double, or 5 people can only pick a 5-person suite. Groups of two can only have Columbia students. Groups of 3 or more must be at least 50% composed of Columbia students.
East Campus Exclusion Rule (ECER): If you want to try to get an East Campus high-rise 5-person suite which has 3 singles and 1 double, you can invoke the rule during registration (and not later). Only the top 3 point values of the 5-member group will be averaged to calculate the group point value. However, the group will then only be able to pick an EC high-rise 5-person suite. If all of these are gone by the time the group shows up for their appointment time, the group will automatically drop to General Selection. If the group chose to stay together in such an event, each individual will receive a point value equivalent to the sum of the 5 point values divided by 5. E.g., 30+30+30+10+10 / 5 = 110 / 5 = 22. If the group chose to disband in the event of dropping to General Selection, each individual will receive their class point value, either 10, 20, or 30. ECER groups can have a maximum of 2 Barnard students, and their points will not count.
For a single in a corridor-style residence hall
Sign up for General Selection as an individual.
For a single in a corridor-style residence hall near your friends
Sign up for General Selection as a group with your friends. Group sizes can range from 2 to 10.
Once the registration period is over, each individual or group is assigned a random, computer-generated lottery number. (Groups share a single lottery number.)
According to the individual or group's point value and lottery number, the individual or group is assigned an appointment date and time to pick their room or suite. The exact priority is described in above in the article introduction.
Students then try to determine exactly what they'll be able to get, especially by referring to the Cutoff history.
Group Suite Selection
- Group Suite Selection will take place from April 9 to April 13 in John Jay Lounge.
- All group members or their proxies will need to come together with their CUIDs. The group can come at their appointment time or any time afterwards.
- If a group does not want to pick a double or suite, or it is unable to, the group will automatically drop to General Selection. This applies even if only one member doesn't go along with the group. Group members will keep the same lottery number, and receive a new appointment time accordingly.
- Available doubles, minus the unavailable spaces detailed below
- Available suites, minus the unavailable spaces detailed below
- Unavailable spaces
The number of Barnard students allowed to live in Columbia housing is capped. The cap is:
- the number of Columbia students who have chosen to participate in Barnard selection
- + the number of Barnard students in Columbia sororities
- + the number of Barnard students in Columbia Special Interest Communities
Once this cap is reached, all groups with one or more Barnard members that have not yet selected a room will drop to General Selection, except for the Barnard members, who will drop to Barnard room selection. In 2006, all 30pt groups with Barnard students got past the cap, and then a further 3 Barnard juniors. All 30pt groups usually get past the cap because housing tries to keep seniors happy.
- General Selection takes place online in April.
- You can log in and select a room any time from your assigned appointment time until the end of General Selection. It is obviously better to select a room as soon as possible after your assigned appointment time.
- The available rooms include all single rooms, and any doubles and suites remaining from Group Suite Selection.
- Once Group Suite Selection and General Selection are over, some space becomes available because students fail to sign their contracts, decide to study abroad, take time off, or transfer to a different school. Approximately 150-200 spaces become available by May. These spaces are made available through summer transfer.
- Students apply for summer transfer.
- The order in which summer transfer requests are fulfilled is determined by two numbers, as in the regular lottery. First, students are subdivided according to their point value. Second, however, students are subdivided according to their reverse lottery number from the regular lottery.
- Thus, a request from a student with 30/2999 is fulfilled before a request from a student with 30/1, while is in turn fulfilled before a request from a student with 20/2999, and so on.