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 Columbia College and SEAS members (but not Barnard College 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.
Strategize! Refer to this list of housing strategies.
- 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.
- Groups in Group Suite Selection can only choose suites that are the exact size of their group. That is, a group of 6 cannot split up into 3 groups of 2 in suite selection - they can only choose 6-person suites (if available). If there are no remaining suites matching the size of the group, the group must drop to General Selection, where they can split up as they desire.
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.
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, though keep in mind that the cutoff history varies greatly from year to year, and cannot accurately predict what will happen.
Group Suite Selection
- Group Suite Selection takes place 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 decrease by the number of Barnard students in it, while the Barnard members will drop to Barnard room selection. That is, if you have 8 people including one Barnard student in the group, and the cap is filled, your group becomes a group of 7.
After the last 30-point group has selected, senior-only groups who were previously unable to select housing they wanted are eligible to participate in senior regroup.
Once the last senior-only group's appointment time has passed, all seniors who registered for Suite Selection but did not yet pick can come back to John Jay Lounge, where each group will be able to add/remove members as they see fit. Once groups have re-formed, they are given a new temporary random lottery number and allowed to pick in that order.
If a group does not pick in senior regroup, the group drops to general selection with its original lottery number and point value.
Barnard students are not eligible for senior regroup, and will default to BC Selection in the event that CC/SEAS students from their group participate in senior regroup.
For 20-point groups, junior regroup takes place if there are no more suites that match the group's size or if the group doesn't want any of the remaining suites. New groups form, receive temporary random lottery numbers, and pick suites in that order.
If a group does not pick in junior regroup, the group drops to general selection with its original lottery number and point value.
Barnard students are not eligible for junior regroup, and will default to BC Selection in the event that CC/SEAS students from their group participate in junior regroup.
Sophomores just can't win when it comes to housing selection. If there are no suites left at the group's appointment time (which is likely enough, but can be worth risking), the group has to drop to general selection. But you can survive! It's recommended that sophomores form even-numbered groups, so that their worst-case scenario just means that they split into groups of two and select doubles during general selection.
- 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.
Summer Transfer of Fall Assignment
- 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. These spaces are made available through the Summer Transfer of Fall Assignment process.
- Students apply for Summer Transfer of Fall Assignment online after General Selection has ended.
- 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.