Wise Fools: Off-Campus Permission

Hello prospective students, confused current students, and lost surfers of the web. Welcome to Wise Fools, where I address the ins and outs of being a sophomore at Brown University. My name is Justin Ferenzi, and I’m here to help shine some light on the intricacies of a student’s second year. 
When you move from freshman to sophomore year, you are rather constrained when it comes to living options. You must enter the lottery, you must live in a sophomore-designated dorm (unless you’re in a housing group with upperclassmen), and you are not allowed to live off-campus. However, after your first two years, the decision is up to you and to chance whether you can leave the world of dorms behind.
Moving off campus, like most non-Brown room and board options, tends to be cheaper than living on campus, especially if you live with friends and split the rent. You have to strike early; if you know you have off-campus permission, sign a lease as soon as possible. This gives you the chance to explore options and pick the living situation that’s best for you. As a rule of thumb, the further away you get from campus, the cheaper the apartment or house—although factors such as utilities, size, and newness come into play as well.
Off-campus permission for juniors operates on a lottery system. This year, they changed it a bit, and you have three chances to win permission through the lottery before you end up on the waitlist. Typically, people up to about the 150th position on the waitlist wind up getting permission, although tenacity and calls to ResLife can help speed up the process.
As a quick addendum to my post about meal plans last week, the Off Campus meal plan is a good option for people living in apartments and houses. Under this plan, you receive a limited number of swipes and points per semester to use to join your on-campus friends in the cafeterias and eateries. It’s a nice supplement to the new amount of shopping and cooking you’ll be doing off-campus.
Make sure to organize your off-campus group early. Again, it’s best to take action as soon as possible, and as living decisions creep closer people have the tendency to scramble. Try to form plans as early as you can to avoid stress.
In all, explore all of your options and make sure you find the set-up that’s best for you. Remember, winding up in a Grad Center single is not the worst thing in the world. You’ll always have a place to call home, whether it’s your first apartment or a Young-O suite.
When Justin Ferenzi isn’t blogging, he’s obsessively refreshing his email account for blogging-related correspondence. For any and all questions about life at Brown, don’t hesitate to send a message to justin_ferenzi@brown.edu
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