Housing Guide: A housing lottery breakdown

After dozens of changes and a semester’s worth of delays, students returning to campus next year will participate in the housing lottery this weekend.

Originally slated for early March, Housing Services delayed the annual housing lottery because of a recent court decision affecting housing procedures and the purchase of The Gallery residence hall in Rosslyn, Va.

With changes including New Hall accommodating sophomores through seniors and Mount Vernon housing only freshmen, several students said they still had lingering questions about both the selection process and availability of certain halls.

“I’d like to live in Munson, but I didn’t get a very good number and I hear it goes pretty fast,” rising sophomore Tyler Herin said.

Even with continuing uncertainties, the number of students who submitted nonbinding Intent to Return forms is down only slightly from last year, said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services.

Ch … ch … changes

Although housing officials initially planned some sweeping changes this year, the final results are minor, said Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services.

“Housing selection, last year and this year, is a simple process that takes only a few minutes of time,” Sonn said. “In addition, we’ve recently had some policy initiatives that will simplify some of the policies.”

Most of the biggest housing changes proposed were reversed. As of last week, the changes and reversals this semester were as follows:

* Students studying abroad for a semester can live anywhere students living on campus both semesters can live.

* The Hall on Virginia Avenue is a freshman hall.

* Madison Hall is a sophomore hall.

* Rising juniors and seniors can live in New Hall and JBKO. At least two-thirds of the beds in each hall will be set aside for juniors and seniors.

* Current freshmen who are classified as rising juniors can live with their classmates but must choose from 2109 F Street, The West End or Crawford, New, JBKO, or Strong halls.

The biggest change for next year is the addition of The Gallery in Rosslyn, Va., for upperclassmen. With 125 units, space in the luxury apartment building is expected to go quickly, Sonn said.

“Response has been strong so far for The Gallery,” Sonn said.

For students interested in taking a tour, Housing Services is offering a shuttle to The Gallery from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week leaving from Fulbright Hall and is also providing Metro passes.

However, some students said they are concerned about The Gallery’s distance from campus and costs, which range from $1,750 per month for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment to $3,100 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.

“I’m either going to live in The Gallery or City Hall,” sophomore G. Campbell said. “But I’m still concerned about the cost.”

Although Sonn said it is “too early to draw conclusions” about the number of students returning to campus in the fall, Residence Hall Association President Emily Naden said she expects a slight increase in off-campus living.

“I could definitely see that happening,” Naden said.

How to plan for on-campus living

Students should first look at room availability in various residence halls, officials said. The only non-freshman six-person room is in 1957 E Street. Upperclassman singles are available in Crawford, Francis Scott Key, Guthridge and Strong halls, as well as in the International House and JBKO. Doubles, triples and quads are available in nearly every residence hall.

Sonn predicted that New Hall, 1957 E Street, The Dakota, City Hall, JBKO and Munson Hall would be the first residence halls to fill up. Most of the halls are newer buildings and feature several amenities, including kitchens.

But Naden said older buildings are “generally better.”

“They’ve stood up to the test of time,” Naden said.

Sonn also advised students to examine some lesser-known halls.

“Some of the halls that students should be aware of are Building JJ (for sophomores) and Madison Hall (recently added for sophomores),” he said. “Building JJ, especially, is a diamond in the rough.”

Sonn said “traditional” residence halls such as Crawford, Mitchell and Strong are often “overlooked, but offer great amenities and locations.”

Naden expects 2109 F Street and The Schenley to be among the last halls chosen. The West End, Pennsylvania House and The Aston should also go later, she said.

Before selecting rooms, students should make a decision about their roommates, several veterans of the housing selection process said.

“Housing is all about who you live with,” said Kris Hart, Student Association president-elect. “No matter what building you live in, whether it has good amenities or not, it’s about living with someone you’re really going to have fun with.”

“You should also keep in mind that friends don’t always make the best roommates,” rising senior Phil Thomas said.

Housing experts advised students to be flexible when choosing roommates and room configurations.

“It’s good to be in a group of six people, not to live with, but just for selection. With them, you can split into two triples, three doubles, a quad and a double, or apply for the E Street six,” Naden said. “You can also do this with four people, but quads should be prepared to break up. And you should always have a backup plan.”

-Elizabeth Chernow contributed to this report.

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