Dorm Life at Brown: The Housing Lottery, Chapter 2

Vartan Gregorian Quad, home to New Dorm A and B

Hello prospective students, confused current students, and lost surfers of the web. Welcome to He, She, and Phe: Dorm Life at Brown, where I address your questions about the most ubiquitous aspect of college living. My name is Justin Ferenzi, and I’m here to help shine some light on the rollercoaster ride that is dorm life.

A few weeks ago I began a series about the Housing Lottery so that all of you can learn about the ins and outs right alongside me as I go through the process. Now that I’m a bit more entrenched in the labyrinthine world of the Lottery, I figured I’d  share my new insights.

Today I’ll talk generally about residence halls and about the lottery number.

Since our friends over at FYBU already have a great guide to sophomore housing on their blog, I won’t go into specific detail about each residence hall, and instead speak more broadly so you can get a broader idea.

Generally, sophomore rooms are about the same size as freshman rooms (unless you live in MoChamp, in which case they’re actually generally bigger), though some buildings like Caswell have relatively tinier rooms.

The building quality, however, decreases a bit. Halls like Minden and Barbour are kind of gross, though a few, like Hope College and New Dorm, have great facilities. The vibe varies greatly from dorm to dorm, much the same as freshman housing. Though generally sophomore dorms tend to be more low-key, a few places like Barbour are good hubs for parties and other activities.

The types of room available are also of a wide variety. From singles to octets, you get a lot of options. Some have common rooms, some have their own bathroom, and some even have kitchenettes! Of course, there are a lot of standard-issue dorms, but there are also a ton of really cool options. Doubles offer the most flexibility with style of room; the more people you add, the more similar they all become. Either way, however, there’s still a lot to pick from.

Now for a more technical aspect of the lottery: your number. The number is really just the date and time at which the lottery opens for you. For instance, my group is on the first day at 7:36pm, a pretty middle-of-the-road time.

Your number really makes or breaks your lottery experience. Common advice for sophomores is to try to enter with a bigger group, even if you’re looking for a double; it’s best to merge with other smaller groups to secure a number that’s more stable. Being towards the bottom of the list pretty much guarantees Perkins (a dismal dorm that’s so far off campus it’s practically part of Johnston and Wales), and no one wants that.

I hope you found this helpful! Of course, there are a ton of other great resources I’d encourage you to check out: the FYBU blog, the ResLife website, and posts by this column’s past authors are helpful. It’s also always wise to talk to your Meiklejohn, upperclassmen friends, and peers to see what’s up.

Best of luck! And worst case scenario you can always just go Greek. (Apparently frat and srat enrollment is up 42% this year.)

See you next week!

When Justin Ferenzi isn’t blogging, he’s obsessively refreshing his email account for blogging-related correspondence. For any and all questions about dorm life at Brown, don’t hesitate to send a message to


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