He, She, and Phe: Dorm Life at Brown: Housing Lottery Part 1


Hi there! I’m Seunglee Lee, a first year blogger for He, She, and Phe: Dorm Life at Brown. For nervous freshmen, including myself, nothing is more exiting yet intimidating than prospects of dorm life. As I navigate through all the fun, hectic and hilarious experiences dorm life at Brown has to offer, I hope to share them with you and hopefully convince you that Brown is the place to be.

It is now time to begin discussing the pressing issue that instills fear on every freshman’s mind, the housing lottery.

The housing lottery, quite literally, is a lottery in early April that determines where you will be living the next year. As you may have guessed, graduating seniors, those studying abroad, and those living off-campus do not participate. A majority of seniors choose to live off campus, so it is mainly designed for sophomores and juniors.

What happens is that each housing group is assigned a number, which is the order in which the group gets to choose the housing location and room number. Upperclassmen receive priority over rising sophomores.

I have not participated in the actual lottery myself, but my group and I are currently going through the process. There’s no way around it; it can get stressful. The members of our group have changed a few times, but we have a secure group of eight now. Here are some insights I have gained so far that could make the ordeal a bit less nerve-wracking.

  • Find your roommate as soon as possible: only 2% of the entire sophomore class live in a single. That means there is a 98% chance that you will need a roommate/suitemate. Start thinking about whom you would like to room with at least before winter break ends.
  • Have an idea of who will be in your group: talk it out with your friends and have a sense of how many people there will be beforehand. The best size for a housing group is between four and eight. Even numbers are always preferred over odd numbers.
  • DO NOT decide to enter alone to avoid the drama from forming groups: the way lottery works is they take all the individual numbers from the group and average them out. The average is the final group number. Chances are, sophomores are very likely to receive a mediocre/bad number, and it is incredibly difficult to secure a single as a sophomore, which means you will most likely go into summer assignment. Once you go into summer assignment, you have no say in where you will be living.
  • Be flexible: people will come and go. Some may be accepted to special program housing, and others may go abroad. Communicate with your group and be flexible, but try to have a set group by the beginning of March.
  • Communicate!: our housing group had an informal meeting a couple days ago in which we introduced ourselves, stated our preferences, selected our group leader and sorted out the roommate/suitemate issue. Just because you are in the same group doesn’t mean you will be living with all members of your group. You are just choosing at the same time.

Next week, I’ll discuss some ways to secure housing without entering the lottery.

See you then,


Do you have any questions or comments? Shoot me an email at seung_lee_lee@brown.edu and I’ll get back to you!


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