Housingmaster: Sophomorically Seeking a Single
Written by Bwog Staff
Housing is a special time of year—after all, it’s a time when students have to critically think about things. If you need any advice beyond that which you received from the Core, you can ask us. After all, even though the liberal arts are the greatest pedagogical tool developed in human history, they don’t teach you the difference between lottery and priority numbers.
Q: Dear Bwog,
So I’m planning on applying for housing just as single person (personal reasons for not wanting a suite or entering with other peeps). I would really like a single by myself (don’t care which residence hall it’s in). So what selection plan am I supposed to do? Do I start selecting for a single on Feb 29th? What do I do for the lottery numbers and General Selection (wtf is that?)?
And also, I’m currently a freshman LOL. Although, I am fully aware of the danger of not entering Suite Selection.
I mean, I have a potential, backup midtown apartment plan with three high school buddies, but it’d probably be more expensive than Columbia housing even with the rent split 4 ways.
Would really appreciate some help with this. Thanks.
A: If I ever heard of a pie in the sky…but okay. Let’s talk sophomore singles. Your best best would have been the LLC, but that deadline is long gone. Your chance to snag a single in a desperate SIC, too, has passed. Straight talk, now.
You cannot be “fully aware of the danger of not entering Suite Selection,” or you would enter Suite Selection. Let me sketch this out for you: there is one dorm in which sophomores definitely have a chance at a single, and that dorm is Furnald, where there are 109 singles set aside for sophomores. There are just a few more than 2,000 students in your class—so you have a 5.5% chance of getting one of those.
Or so it would seem. You actually have less chance than that, which is where “numbers” come in. You, entering General Selection alone, will have a priority number of 10. Some sophomores who have tried for 47 Claremont with one junior, and who have dropped down from Suite to General Selection, will have an 11.4 average left over from their group. They will pick before even the luckiest lone sophomore, and they will take anywhere between a third and a half of those 109 singles. That leaves you in actuality with between a 2.7% and 3.4% chance of one of those singles. Last year the cutoff for a Furnald single was 10/170.*
You also have a slim possibility of landing a Wien single, but we wouldn’t recommend counting on that. Looking at the cutoff history, it’s fairly obvious that Wien is on an upward trend in popularity. A few years ago, and we would have said that Wien was your safety dorm, but last year not a single rising sophomore landed a Wien single. With Junior regroup influencing the whole mess this year, it’s a safe bet that Junior who would have previously been dropped into General Selection (and taking Wien singles) will now regroup and claim doubles somewhere (clearly they wanted to live with other people, after all). That’s all hypothetical, however.
So here is God’s honest truth: Housing sucks for sophomores. You will get a double. Whether it is in McBain, Nussbaum, or Wien, it will be so-so. Accordingly, go into Suite Selection with your rising sophomore friends. If you get an excellent lottery number, you have the option of dropping to General to try for the single. If not, you’ll have secured better, shaft-free doubles with somebody who is not a stranger. If you risk General Selection alone, there is at least a 96.6% chance that you will live with a stranger in one of the least desirable doubles on campus.
Alternatively, go live in that midtown apartment.
*The first number is the priority number, based on class year (10 for sophomores, 20 for juniors, 30 for seniors). The second is the lottery number, which is randomly generated, and between 1 and 3000. Numbers work like this: you receive a lottery number. Room selection takes place in order of priority number, then lottery number. Seniors, with priority number 30, go first, from 1 to 3000. Then go groups between 20 and 30, then 20, then between 20 and 10. After that, the 10s go.