The Shaft
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Spectrum will be producing content on The Shaft from now until housing selection in early April. We think we’ve got a lot of the issues covered, but if at any time you have questions about The Shaft or housing selection at Barnumbia, let us know and we’ll do our best to cover it.

Barnardigans, it’s the day you’ve all been waiting for: lottery day. Up until this point, you’ve discussed your rooming plans with your friends only in the hypothetical, but today, you can finally solidify plans, finding out if your number puts you at the top or bottom of the pack.

But wait… What does this random three-or-four digit even mean? You have the number, but is it good enough to place you in the space you’ve been dreaming of? The Shaft is here to help!

This year's lottery range is:

Seniors: 1-459

Juniors: 460-978

Sophomores: 979-1443

Barnard’s lottery numbers are infinitely easier to read than Columbia's, if you know these ranges. The closer your number is to one, the better.

Interpreting your number

Top 10 in your class

Great. You’ve hit the jackpot, my friend. You have a great shot at your first choice (if it’s still available to your class). If you were planning on getting a suite with your friends, they are going to love you because the whole group gets your number.

Top 20 in your class

Good. You scored silver in this year’s housing Olympics. Consider yourself luckier than most. You can probably get the dorm you want, but it’s not definite.

Top 50 in your class

Okay. It could be worse. Pray to the housing gods that peeps with better numbers didn’t take your coveted dorm.

After that

Eh, i.e. not so great. Buckle up—this year’s housing selection might get a little bumpy for you.


Excited? You finally have a chance at that Sulz Tower single you've been dreaming of since NSOP. Or do you?

For top 10: Barnard is your oyster. You can get anything you want, wherever you want. Sulz Tower, here you come. Though it may be hard, try not to gloat.

For 10-20: You can still have full reign over where you live, just not which room. Every location is open, but you just might not get the suite you want.

For 20-50: The pickings are getting slimmer, so your choices are a bit more limited. You can count on selecting from a few suites in 620 and Cathedral Gardens, some top picks in the Tower, and about anything in 600 or 616.

For 50+: Depending on what your fellow low-numbered classmates choose, you can probably get a decent dorm. 620 may be a possibility. Sulz Tower will have some smaller singles left, and there will be suites in CG, but they will have fewer singles. Don't forget: You’ll still have your pick in 600 and 616, and the large double has its perks. If you’re dying for some alone time, rest assured, because studio singles are usually available throughout senior day.


After your first year of housing selection hell, you finally have a real shot as a junior. Since most of the coveted senior suites are groups of five, six is your magic number.

For top 20: Sulz Tower and 620 will be gone. There might be some CG apartments left over, As/Bs will be left in 616 and 600 will stay fairly open.

For 20+: Say bye-bye to CG apartments and some suites in 600. If this year is like past, everything else is fair game.

(Remember, you can get that beautiful 616 single with the great view all to yourself.)


You have a real shot at some apartments, but make peace with the possibility of Elliott.

For top 10: You can probably snag a suite in 600, but there will definitely be a lot of Plimpton suites and a ton of 110. There will still be a lot of Hewitt singles left over, but all of the Elliott singles will be gone.

For 20+: You’ll have the choice of Hewitt singles and Elliott doubles until the end of sophomore day. The rest of you will be on the guaranteed housing list.

Every year is different, so there are sure to be anomalies and even miracles in the housing selection process. Use this info to gauge what your number can get you and what strategy to use. Also, keep in mind that housing selection starts on Friday, March 24, for seniors.

Got a great lottery number? Gloat to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Isabella Monaco is Spectrum’s associate editor and a Barnard first-year. She got a residential assistant to pull her in, so she will be stress-free this lottery season. Reach her at

sulzberger-tower 620-w-116-st cathedral-gardens 600-w-116-st 616-w-116-st elliott plimpton hewitt 601-w-116-st
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