Q: I’m entering a suite with a few other guys, one of whom is studying abroad this semester. I know there are some extra steps we have to take, like designating a proxy for housing selection, but are there any other pitfalls that housing won’t tell me about until we fall into them?

A: Put simply, no.

Students who study abroad via a Columbia-approved program for a semester (or two) are guaranteed housing when they get back. Since your group member is studying abroad in the Spring semester, he will register online like he normally would for room selection—you can only ask that he doesn’t choose a pretentious username in the language he’s now “fluent in” to show off his newly polished linguistic skills—and he will join your suite selection group.

Within the online registration, he’ll have the option to select a proxy. This proxy, who will be responsible for showing up to room selection in John Jay and physically choosing his room in the suite, can even be another member of your suite group. Then, the group member who is abroad must again access the online registration form, and sign his own occupancy agreement.

Beyond this measure, everything will work the same way. Your suite will show up, and if all goes well, pick your suite and individual rooms within the suite. If not, you’ll spend the next hour bingeing on Smarties that the nice Housing people have provided in mass quantities, so it’s pretty much win-win.