The Question: What’s the Deal with Housing?

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Questions, of course, are what make life interesting.  The Question will give you weekly responses to any and every possible question there is about Brown!  With The Answer coming from freshman Emma Harris, be prepared to feel like you know Brunonia inside and out!

Housing, housing, housing.  I didn’t realize the importance of housing to college students until I actually got to Brown last September.  So how does it work?

All freshmen are randomly assigned to doubles.  Well, there are some singles, but they are very very rare.  The summer before arriving at Brown, you answer five questions to determine who your roommate will be – things like: Do you smoke? Can you study with music playing?  How messy are you on a scale of one to five?

A few weeks before school starts, you’ll receive an email entailing your roommate’s name, how to contact them, and your room number.

Freshmen live in Keeney, Andrews, or Wayland.  Keeney and Wayland are south of the Main Green, and Andrews is north of the Main Green.  Keeney, affectionately called “motel Keeney,” and Andrews, affectionately called “hotel Andrews,” have recently been renovated.  Wayland, while un-renovated, is smaller and closer to the Ratty (our main dining hall) and the Main Green.  There are tradeoffs, but one isn’t better or worse!  Everyone loves their freshman dorms because of the people in them!

Speaking of people, freshmen are grouped into units, which become your family for the first year.  Made up of people who live around you and your RPLs, you end up seeing a lot of these people!

What about after the first year?

There is guaranteed housing for all four years here at Brown.  Students must live on-campus for six semesters, though with different study abroad programs can petition to live off-campus junior year.

There are two avenues for housing: program houses and the lottery.

To give you and idea, program houses are houses like Tech House, Social Action House, International House, and all of the fraternities and sororities.  Before the lottery, they all hold open houses and info sessions so you get to learn all about houses you’re interested in and can rush them.

If you opt against program housing, you go through the lottery.  This means you and your closest friends make a group and are assigned a random number within your class.  With this number comes a time slot: three minutes.  In these three minutes you log on and pick what rooms you and your friends want to live in.  It’s first come-first serve, so there’s lots of room research to do beforehand!

Of course there are many exceptions based on the situation, but this is the basic housing process – it starts on Monday!!

Do you have any questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Possibly The Question for next week?  Shoot me an email at for answers!


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