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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Know your odds in the housing lottery

Published: February 3, 2012
Section: Opinions

Now that the room selection process is coming up, members of the Brandeis community are eagerly awaiting their housing lottery number. Rising sophomores are taking the time to tour the campus and explore their different options, while upperclassmen are starting to get together and make plans for next year. Eventually it all comes down to one thing: the lottery number. Housing choices can be very limited for people with a very high lottery number; however, a low lottery number equals success for the next academic year.

I have never been through the process of selecting housing myself, but it seems like an extremely stressful process. First is the wait for the lottery number. Having a good number—i.e., a low number—can guarantee that you will live with all your friends and have a “happily ever after” kind of moment. With suites available and the option of “pull-ins,” a good lottery number can pretty much guarantee a good year. A high number, however, can potentially mean that you get what everyone else doesn’t like, hence bad housing.

In order to make an informed decision (depending, of course, on this annoying lottery number that we will be receiving in a couple of weeks), all options should be carefully considered, especially when it comes to rising sophomores like me who are guaranteed housing but are perhaps less experienced in the process.

Sophomores have the option to live in East Quad, which is composed of single and double rooms. East has traditional, hall-style living, and people living there seem quite fun and diverse. On the downside, I have heard rumors of East being infested with bugs.

Rosenthal Quad (presumably a party quad) contains suites of eight people. This is a very popular option and a really good lottery number is necessary.

The Castle offers traditional, hall-style living, as well as suite living. Since it’s a castle, you can pretty much pretend you are at Hogwarts. The Castle also has fun living arrangements, as some rooms are very hard to get into. For instance, I saw a girl using the fire escape, and I think there is a room accessed through the roof, if that is even possible.

The Village only offers a few rooms for sophomores but, judging by the demand, it must be a really great place in which to live; you get your own gym and even your own C-Store.

567 South St., though a little too far from campus, has a kitchen area and private bathroom. It’s a lot less like a dorm and a lot more like real life.
If all of these options aren’t enough, there are also singles available in

North and Massell for whomever wants to live like a first-year again.

When it comes to juniors and seniors, the options are quite diverse. Juniors and seniors primarily live in Ziv Quad (which offers six-person suites with singles), Charles River Apartments, Ridgewood, Foster Mods (which is exclusively for senior students) and the Village (which offers singles and doubles in a cluster hall-style). The Charles River Apartments, Ridgewood and Foster Mods offer a variety of apartment housing options that include kitchens; this means that you can cook your own food and do not need to have a meal plan! All housing options are comfortable and promote for a more “independent” kind of living since most of these options are farther from campus than the options that are given to first-years or sophomores.

The wait for the lottery number can be tough, especially considering how important it is in determining a big part of the students’ happiness, socially and otherwise, for the following year. Being aware (and analyzing the pros and cons), however, of the different options that are available for housing, as well as planning ahead of time can be very beneficial to the process. In the meantime I wish the best of luck to my fellow Brandeisians and may the best number win!