Ellen Esterhay Photograph


Office of Admission
315-859-4457 (fax)

How to Avoid the Housing Lottery for 4 Years

April 14, 2013   

Yes, it is true - I have avoided the housing lottery for my entire Hamilton College career!
The housing lottery is how housing is decided for students - Res Life assigns students random numbers within their class year, so seniors register first and freshmen last. Higher-number students can pull lower number students into doubles, quads or next-door singles. Upperclassmen can also pull lowerclassmen. Since I don't fully understand all the ins and outs of the process, I will just direct anyone wanting to know more about the housing lottery to the Residiential Life webpage. 

From what I have heard (since I've never been) housing lottery is something akin to pure pandemonium. You gotta figure, there is a lot of stress involved in deciding where you will live for the next 8 or so months. Each year, there are stories about people changing their plans last-minute, deciding to room together, deciding NOT to room together, or getting woken up by a call from friends on Sunday morning and told to get their butts down to the lottery as fast as possible (you need all roommates present with their Hillcards in order to secure a room).

Sometimes I get a bit frazzled in high-pressure situations. I also tend to be very indecisive. This gives me a sneaking suspicion that I would not do well in the housing lottery. So, simple solution - don't go to the housing lottery! How have I managed this? Freshman year students are given assigned housing. Sophomore year, I had medical pre-assign housing (which was 100% necessary, at the time). Junior year, I was studying abroad, so I had a proxy go in my place and decide for me. And this year….drumroll….my friend pulled me into her RA suite in Babbitt! Meaning, no lottery for me! I think I will be really happy with the suite - granted, its a smaller room than what I have this year, but it is still a single. It's closer to all my classes, closer to the better dining hall, and I have a lot of friends living (or trying to live) in the same area next year. Plus, the one complaint I always hear about the suites is that they are loud, but I am hoping that an RA suite will be a bit quieter. If I want a loud, crazy time, I can just visit the suites downstairs! 

Only downside is this will be my first year without my own bathroom (gasp! the horror). Freshman and sophomore year I was in four-person rooms with a bedroom, common room, and bathroom. This year my single has its own bathroom as well, which is so unbelievably convenient and wonderful. Next year will be a bit of an adjustment, but I'm not complaining…if I only have to use a hall bathroom once in my entire four years at Hamilton, clearly I've been living the good life.