38 days of housing! Bwog can explain it all, the epic highs and lows of lottery numbers and selections.

In case students needed an extra source of anxiety during the rapid cascade towards finals and the end of the semester, there was the housing lottery! Strangely asynchronous between Barnard and Columbia due to a three-week delay in starting Columbia’s selection time, the process was anything but painless, especially for those on the lower end of the lottery scale. Bwog breaks down the Barnard and Columbia housing selections, compares students’ selections to years past, and explains what comes next for those on waitlists.

Columbia Edition: How Did People Choose?

The live availability ticker has closed for the year—but it helped us figure out exactly where it all went wrong, especially as stretched-out choosing times (from 8 am to 10 am!) and compressed days threw it all into chaos. Going back through Bwog’s records of the past few weeks, and data on group sizes, here’s some of the trends that dictated room selection.

Group Size:

Looking at the group size data provided by Columbia, we can see that single-person groups proliferated (roughly half of the 1279 housing groups in total). As usual, even-numbered groups predominated.


The seniors with the best numbers took the best rooms: studio singles in Watt and the brownstones vanished before the end of the first day. Much of East Campus was also swept up, leaving only some odd-numbered suites; Nuss singles vanished; and, naturally, senior favorites like Ruggles, Hogan, and Claremont saw most of their singles and suites taken up. Outside of that, though, there were some odd choices: Bwog saw seniors pick into Schapiro walk-through doubles, Nuss doubles, and faraway Carlton Arms singles with the cream of the crop available to them.


If seniors made strange decisions, then rising juniors went for the jugular. Groups with early lottery numbers were still able to pick into EC or Ruggles, but juniors with low lottery numbers were forced to pick into doubles. A few larger suites like the seven-person suites in Claremont remained open, but mysteriously vanished off the housing counter on the last day of junior selection. Unlike previous years, though, McBain singles were being held open for sophomores, and most remained open at the end of junior selection.


As expected, the sophomore-only singles in Furnald and McBain were quickly swept up—and then, it was down to the doubles. Near the start of sophomore housing, doubles remained in several dorms—Harmony, McBain, Wein, Carlton, Schapiro, and, of course, McBain—but most of the non-McBain options were quickly swept up. Most sophomores got to experience one of several thrilling options, then: picking with a friend into a double, picking blindly into a double and hoping for the best, or, most excitingly, getting waitlisted!

What’s Next:

Students on the Sophomore Waitlist will receive assignments as they become available. If that’s you, look out for it! As of the final day of housing selection, three doubles in McBain and 2.5 doubles in Carlton remained.

Barnard Edition: How Did People Choose?

4-person Lottery:

Barnard’s housing selection began with the four-person lottery, where the four-single suits in Cathedral Gardens, 121, and 620 were vacuumed up by the first groups to go. Of the 75 registered groups, nearly half chose not to pick in this lottery, leaving some select suites open for the sophomores to pick into.

5-person Lottery:

5-person all-single suites in 121 and 620 went almost exclusively to seniors, while mixed suites went to a more scattered picking of junior/senior groups and all-junior groups. Over half of 5-person groups, however, opted not to pick into a suite at all during this selection.

6-person Lottery:

Cathedral Gardens went first when the 6-person lottery started, followed by six-person suites in 616 and 620. Like previous years, there were few senior or mixed senior/junior groups in the 6-person lottery—only eight out of 100—leaving many juniors and sophomores with a chance to pick into suites. As all the six-person suites were selected by the end of the first day, however, several groups were left out of luck.

123 Lottery:

The 123 lottery started off as it always does, with seniors largely selecting into Sulz Tower and 121, and all singles in Sulz Tower, 121, 620, and 616 vanishing by the second day. That trend only continued, and rising juniors picked into all remaining singles on the third day. Rising sophomores took the doubles which remained, especially in Elliott and Plimpton, or opted to join the Guaranteed List instead and receive their housing assignment over the summer.

What’s Next?

Deadlines to submit the Guaranteed List have already passed, but students can still cancel without fees by May 5, and the deadline to update preferences is on June 20. Assignments will be emailed to students by August 1. For help ranking buildings, check out Bwog’s housing reviews!

Is This Different From Previous Years?

Columbia edition:

Like last year, seven-person suites in Claremont stayed open for most of housing selection, likely due to the lack of seven-person groups who wanted them. The rush for singles this year, especially from rising juniors, was one major difference. Even some rising juniors were forced to pick into doubles once there were no more singles, and sophomores were completely out of luck. Many were forced to join the Sophomore Waitlist.

(Finally, of course, Columbia’s housing took place much later than usual, due to technological problems with the housing counter. It probably didn’t have any effect on what was picked into, but it definitely didn’t help alleviate any anxiety surrounding housing.)

Barnard edition:

Starting on time, Barnard’s selection process was largely similar to last year’s. All-single suites were swept up by seniors in the 4-, 5-, and 6-person lotteries, while Sulz Tower and 121 singles were the first to go when the 123 lottery opened up. Though certain dorms saw their popularity rise or fall—pour one out for Plimpton, the “unloved younger sibling of this year’s housing lottery”—Barnard’s selection process saw no major surprises.

And that’s it for this year’s housing lottery! We hope you’ve enjoyed Bwog’s extensive coverage—here’s to the fall and everything it brings! If you want to share your housing experience with Bwog, drop a comment below or send an email to tips@bwog.com

Broadway Hall via Bwarchives