The Shaft
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With spring break behind us and housing lottery numbers released, it’s time to prepare for housing selection. Appointment times will be released on March 11 with official registration beginning on March 15, but here are a few key tips you and your group might want to keep in mind before you log onto the housing portal.

Use the lottery number predictor on theShaft

Spectator’s dedicated housing website, theShaft, has information on each dorm, student testimonials, photos, and more. At the top of the page, click the Lottery Predictor tab to input your lottery number and browse the rooms you may be likely to get. While this tool can help you establish an idea of what might be attainable, it’s important to take the results with a grain of salt as data is taken from past years’ room selection processes. This year is bound to be unpredictable as many students moved off campus or lost guaranteed housing.

Discuss your dorm priorities

If you do not want a dining plan next year, you may be looking for easy access to a kitchen. Maybe you’re a private person and prefer single-use bathrooms. Whatever the case, each member of your housing group likely has their own preferences for what they’d like in a dorm. Clarify these priorities before registration begins so that you can rank your top buildings. Keep differences in mind such as suite or corridor style, kitchen availability, communal or private bathrooms, distance from campus, noise level, and other information from theShaft. Make sure your group leader knows your group’s housing ranking since they will be making the decision during registration.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your group leader will have to place every member of your group into their individual room. Make sure you meet beforehand and determine which room each person will get. This part of room selection is easily overlooked, particularly if you’re living in a suite, but you don’t want to leave your group leader scrambling to guess where everyone should end up!

Check out how many people are before you

Lottery numbers are randomly generated within your respective category. For example, if your number is 2,000, that does not mean there are 1,999 groups choosing before you. To see the exact number of people with an earlier appointment time, check out Columbia Housing’s order of groups based on name or priority. You will need to log in with your UNI to access the document.

Set up a call to go over housing selection

It’s likely that some members of your group, if you have one, are in different physical locations. In that case, it’s best to set up a group call to talk about the points above in an organized way, rather than using a group chat. You may also want to set up a call so the entire group can be present during the actual registration process, even though only the group leader will be selecting rooms.

Whether you have lottery number 2 or 5,000, remember that there is a real chance that next year will be closer to normal. While you might prefer to live in a certain dorm or with specific people, you are at least more likely to be in the same city as your friends again. Good luck and make sure to check out theShaft for more housing-related information!

Deputy editor Ariana Novo loves to tell people she was second-to-last of the entire university to choose housing last year, so there was nowhere to go but up. She can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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Room Selection Housing Registration Lottery Preparation
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