The Shaft
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Natalie Tischler / Columbia Daily Spectator

Updated on Tues. March 5 at 2:29 p.m.

The greatest woe of cross-college friendships? Housing. Nothing highlights the difference between Barnard and Columbia students more than needing to stop at the front desk and offer up your ID. If your dream housing situation involves living with your friends from across Broadway, the Columbia/Barnard Housing Exchange makes it possible!

Full disclaimer, the CU/BC Housing Exchange is fairly limited and will require a degree of luck to pull off. Only 30 to 40 students manage to live with their cross-college counterparts each year.

I’m a Barnard student. How can I live with my Columbia College/School of Engineering and Applied Science friends?

Step 1 - Be a rising senior. Since more Barnard students try to live at Columbia than vice versa, cross-college housing exchange in this direction is reserved for Barnard seniors only.

Step 2 - Form a group that is comprised of at least 50% Columbia students.

Step 3 - Be eligible for Barnard Housing (even though you’re trying to live at Columbia, you will be billed by Barnard and must apply through the Barnard Housing system).

Step 4 - Register for Barnard Room Selection through the housing portal and select the category of CU Lottery.

Step 5 - Weigh your options with your group. Barnard students are not eligible to live in the corridor-style Columbia dorms but can select from suite-style Columbia housing options (like East Campus or 600 West 113th St., known as Nussbaum) and Special Interest/Greek housing.

Step 6 - Cross your fingers. If your lottery number is good, you’ll go in with your Columbia pals for In-Person Room Selection! If your lottery number is bad, and the cap for the housing exchange is reached, you will be automatically dropped from the Columbia group. You will then select a Barnard room through the Barnard 1/2/3 Lottery (individually), and the Columbia group (without you) will participate in Online Room Selection, though its lottery number and point value will not be affected.

Overall, it’s important to carefully consider all your options. If you get lucky, you’ll get to live with your Columbia friends! However, by applying for the CU Housing Exchange, you run the risk of living in Barnard housing as an individual instead of in a guaranteed group. If you have a group of Barnard friends that you’d also enjoy living with, it may be safer to avoid the housing exchange and the likely chance of living in a Barnard suite with random strangers.

I’m a CC or SEAS student. How can I live with my Barnard friends?

Step 1 - To start, CC and SEAS students may only live in suites of 4, 5, or 6 students at Barnard. From there, you must get a group that is comprised of at least 50% Barnard students. Additionally, as part of a gender-inclusive living arrangement, you and your suitemates must fill out the Barnard Open Housing Contract.

Step 2 - Email and request to be added to the Barnard Housing Portal. Register with the Barnard Housing Portal.

Step 3 - Register with the Columbia Housing Portal as well, and declare as "Individual - CU Living at Barnard.”

Step 4 - Weigh your options. You are eligible to select from any of Barnard’s suite-style buildings (i.e. 600 W 116th St. or 620 W 116th St.).

Step 5 - Get lucky. There’s no guarantee, as there are a limited number of Barnard suites that match group sizes (although you’re more likely going to get one than Barnard students applying for Columbia housing). However, if it doesn’t go through, you will select a room individually through the CU Online Selection process.

Alternatively, if you have a friend at Barnard who is either a) registered with the Office of Disability Services or b) an RA, you are eligible to be their “pull-in!” This means that you can get guaranteed Barnard housing with one of your Barnard buddies before the room selection process even begins.

Ultimately, the chances of your housing dreams becoming a reality are up to fate. Boost your karma by opening the door for someone or offering up your seat on the subway—maybe it’ll improve your lottery luck. And even if it doesn't, at least you’re minutely making the world a more pleasant place. Good luck and happy housing hunting!

For more information, check out Barnard and Columbia’s official Housing websites, as well as The Shaft.

Staff writer Izzy Mollicone can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that CC and SEAS students could be part of the 1, 2, and 3 housing lotteries at Barnard. On the contrary, CC and SEAS students may only be part of the 4, 5, and 6 lotteries. Spectator regrets the error.

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