Housing strategies

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This page lists housing strategies that may help in the Room Selection process.


  • The best strategy is to sign up for Group Suite Selection in a group of friends, in order to get three shots at room selection:
  • First, you can pick a double or suite in regular In-Person Selection.
  • Second, if you are a junior or a senior, you can participate in your year's respective Regroup during In-Person Selection.
  • Third, you can drop out of In-Person Selection and pick a single in Online Selection.
  • The best group size is probably 5 if you are a senior, and 2 if you are a junior or sophomore.

Rising sophomores

  • It is especially important for rising sophomores to enter in a group, both in order to get two shots at room selection (see above) and because there won't be many good options left for sophomores in Online Selection. If your group gets a good enough lottery number for a single in Furnald, Wien, or Harmony, you can drop into Online Selection.
  • For sophomores, the best group size is probably 2 because there are many doubles. Even-numbered groups are better, so in the worst-case scenario you can split into groups of two and select doubles during general selection.
  • If you haven't picked anything, you automatically drop into Online Selection. You and your group members can split up and choose from the rooms left over from In-Person Selection. Some will be singles, but most will be doubles. You can try to pick into a double with a friend. Otherwise, these will be 'blind'; you will be with a stranger. Just be sure to pick something in Online Selection, otherwise you might not get any housing at all. If you are unhappy with your choice, you can file for a summer transfer. These are processed by reverse lottery number, so you'll need a number from about 2500 to 3000.
  • Rising sophomores can also join a group of rising juniors and seniors looking for a suite. Having at least one upperclassman is a way to almost guarantee a 7-person suite in Claremont - which is a wise choice for industrious rising sophomores.
  • EC exclusion suites no longer exist; EC is almost impossible to get into as a non-senior unless you are in a Special Interest Community or a fraternity that lives there.

Rising juniors

  • For juniors, the best group size is still 2. In the best case scenario, you get a medium-demand Woodbridge 1-bedroom apartment. In the worst case scenario, you get a Watt studio double with a bedroom and kitchen, or a large walkthrough double in a sophomore dorm.
  • Join a group of rising sophomores to get a 7-person suite in 47 Claremont. Agree to get a single, while they take the doubles. They are not allowed to pay you money for this, but you could get them to agree to do the dishes, vacuum every week, etc.
  • You will most likely not get into EC. The cutoff for the 2014-2015 academic year was a group of 4 seniors and a junior.
  • Join a senior and go for a 1-bedroom apartment in Watt or a medium-demand apartment in Woodbridge.

Rising seniors

  • For seniors, the best group size is probably 5. That gives you guaranteed options in Hogan or East Campus, though most will still have to pick 2 members of the group to share a double. Still, it's a double in a huge suite in EC, with a fantastic view.

Alternative strategies

  • 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).