The Shaft
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Spectrum will be producing content on The Shaft from now until housing selection ends in early April. If at any time you have questions about The Shaft or about housing selection at Barnumbia, let us know and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Appointment times are out now! Whether you’re new to housing selection or just forgot the deets, you might be wondering how in-person selection works. Here’s everything you need to know before braving the Cage to select your new abode.

Where's my appointment time posted?

Head over to the housing portal (Columbia, Barnard). You can find your appointment time on the the last step of the housing application.

I can't make my appointment time! What should I do

If you aren’t able to make the appointment, you need to select a proxy to pick on your behalf (or ditch class, if that’s the conflict). A proxy is a person who picks for you during your appointment time—this is especially pertinent to people currently studying abroad. You have 24 hours after you get your appointment time to select your proxy.

Note: Make sure you put your proxy’s name and UNI on the housing application form (Columbia, Barnard). For Barnard, make sure your proxy prints out this form and brings it with them when they’re selecting for you.

What should I bring?

All you need during your appointment time is a valid CUID/BCID and yourself or your group. All group members or their proxies must be present to select a room.

What happens during my appointment time?


You and your group won’t be able to enter John Jay Lounge, the location of housing selection, until 15 minutes before your appointment time. Once it’s your time to enter, you have to show your CUID and then you can select your room.


Your John Jay equivalent is Brooks Lounge. Go there at your appointment time and follow the crowds—you’ll be asked first to wait in the room with the piano. Once your appointment time comes around, you and your group will be allowed to enter the larger lounge. Make sure everyone brings their BCIDs.

Complications that end in Online Selection

Let’s say you and your friends get to the Cage for your appointment time and all the suites are gone! If this happens, your group will drop to Online Selection and receive a new appointment date and time (but keep the same lottery number).


If one person in your group goes rogue and wants to drop to Online Selection or cancels the Housing application before your group’s appointment time, the whole group either drops to Online Selection. Alternatively, if your group contained all seniors or juniors, you can participate in the Senior or Junior Regroup process, which reconfigure groups so they can still get a suite.


If one of your group members decides last minute to drop you, you’re not automatically redirected to Online Selection (actually, there’s no such thing at Barnard). Instead, you can either decide to find a suite that fits your new group size, or you can go off on your own. If you do the latter, you’ll pick at whatever your original lottery number was, not your group’s.

What if I don't get a room??

Unfortunately, this happens almost every housing selection to a few unfortunate sophomores. But don’t worry—both Columbia and Barnard guarantee housing to those who qualify.


If Housing runs out of rooms before they get to you, you’ll be put on the Sophomore Waitlist. This means that you’ll be automatically dropped to Online Selection and required to complete a waitlist application. Even though you won’t be able to pick your room, you are able to list your room preferences (including which residence halls you prefer, whether you want a single or double, etc.). If you get waitlisted, don’t fret—especially if you’re one of the first people put on the list, you might end up getting your first choice.

Housing will notify you of where you’ll be living over the summer.


Barnard has a similar policy, only it’s called the Guaranteed Assignment List. Again, you’ll get to list your preferences, but instead of doing it during Online Selection you’ll do it right there in Brooks Lounge during your appointment time. You’ll find out where you’ll live during the first week of August.

Columbia students still have a few more days to stress, worry, or get pumped for housing selection, but Barnard seniors are choosing on Friday. In addition to printing out whatever material you need to select your new pad, make sure you also get familiarized with The Shaft’s new and improved Whiteboard, which will tell you which dorms are being taken by which lottery numbers in real time. Seriously, it’ll be a lifesaver this housing selection season.

Got more questions about housing selection? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Isabella Monaco is Spectrum’s associate editor and a Barnard first-year. She wishes all the space in her brain that is now filled with housing selection info were put to better use. Reach her at

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