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.

Your worst fear realized: You get to the Cage and discover your dream room has been taken. Or even worse, all the rooms have been filled.

Believe it or not, this actually happens semi-frequently to sophomores, because there are more students than beds at CU. But fear not—there’s no need to start a panicked search for alternative housing just yet.

Both Barnard and Columbia have systems that guarantee housing to students with bad housing lottery luck. At Columbia, there is the Sophomore Waitlist, and, at Barnard, there is the Guaranteed Assignment List.

Columbia: Sophomore Waitlist

What is it?

Are you a Columbia rising sophomore with a really terrible lottery number? And when I say terrible, I mean so atrocious you can’t get a room? Don’t freak out just yet. Columbia Housing is here to save the day—the Sophomore Waitlist was created for students with your precise problem.

How do I get on it?

Since some students leave Columbia during the summer, decide not to live in Columbia housing after all, or withdraw from housing for other reasons, the rooms that had been reserved for students can become vacant. Columbia repurposes these rooms for rising sophomores who didn’t get dorms during housing selection. If you’re a rising sophomore and this happens to you, you’ll automatically be dropped to online selection to fill out the Sophomore Waitlist application on the Housing Portal.

In the past, the Sophomore Waitlist has started with numbers around 10/2400 to 10/2500.

By what day do I have to fill the application out?

In order to ensure that you have guaranteed housing, you have to fill out the form by the last day of room selection, i.e., April 11. Filling it in sooner doesn’t mean that you’ll be placed higher on the list, though—even the waitlist goes by lottery number.

Are the rooms given out through this process terrible?

Not necessarily. It really depends on who decides to forfeit their room, but you should make peace with the possibility of ending up in Hartley, Wallach, or Furnald.

What if I miss the deadline?

If you don’t submit your application by the last day of room selection, you lose your guaranteed housing status and have to reapply to be considered for assignment.

When will I find out which room I’m in?

Usually in late July or early August.

Can I just skip room selection and apply for the Sophomore Waitlist?

No. Columbia advises against slacking off just to fall back on the waitlist. Not sure why you’d want to do this anyway.

Barnard: Guaranteed Assignment List

What is it?

Because some students drop out of on-campus housing during the summer or go abroad, rooms free up by the time students get back from summer break. As a result, those who did not get a room during housing selection can snatch one over the summer (maybe even their first choice).

How do I get on it?

You’ll go to your appointment time and discover that they ran out of housing. You’ll then be asked to fill out the application right there. On it, you’ll rank your preferred type of room (single, double) and building, and can request roommates and/or suitemates.

In the past, the waitlist has begun around the middle of the sophomore numbers.

Are the rooms given out through this process terrible?

Not necessarily. Of course there’s a chance you could get assigned a shitty double in Elliott, but there have been instances where one of the top folks on the list has gotten a single in Sulz Tower. It all depends on who drops out of their housing over the summer and where the waiting list starts.

When do I find out which room I’m assigned?

Rooms are assigned over the summer, and you should find out which room you have by the end of July or the beginning of August through your gBear email.

All students on this list are guaranteed a room, so you don’t have to worry about making alternative arrangements. Plus, students who are assigned rooms through this process are given priority for Fall Room Change.

If your housing selection doesn’t turn out as planned, don’t fret. By hopping on the Guaranteed Assignment List or the Sophomore Waitlist, you are guaranteed housing for next year, and it might even be a good room. May the housing odds be ever in your favor!

Had good luck on the Guaranteed Assignment List or Sophomore Waitlist? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Isabella Monaco is Spectrum’s associate editor and a Barnard first-year. She dreams of the day when she’ll live in a Sulz Tower single. Reach her at

Guaranteed Assignment housing
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