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Housing lottery leaves students with fewer options

April 26, 2024

Rie Du
FEELING LUCKY? Coles Tower—a popular choice in this year’s housing lottery—is dappled in sunlight. The housing lottery concluded late last week, and all Tower quads and singles were gone midway through Round 2.

Last week, current first years, sophomores and juniors participated in the housing lottery for the 2024-2025 academic year. The housing lottery consisted of Round 1 on April 11, Round 2 on April 15 and Round 3 on April 18. This year, fewer rising juniors were able to live in Coles Tower, and fewer singles were available in the later rounds compared to last year.

Trends in students’ housing choices are largely dependent on class size, the number of students living off-campus and the number of students studying abroad in the fall, but housing preferences for each class also vary with each lottery cycle. According to Director of Residential and Housing Operations Lisa Rendall, ten blocks of rising seniors selected Coles Tower last year, but 18 blocks of rising seniors chose to live in Coles Tower for the upcoming academic year, leaving fewer rooms available for rising juniors.

Students hoping for singles during Round 2 of the lottery had a limited supply to choose from, especially those with a lottery number ranging from 60 onwards. A few of the remaining singles were located on the tenth floor of Coles Tower. Though a block of students can technically split up to take these rooms, Rendall says these rooms are intended for people already in single blocks to have the opportunity to live in Coles Tower.

“The lottery software is written to allow groups to reconfigure during room selection, so they can change the size of their group to an appropriate size to select a corresponding available space of the same size,” Rendall wrote in an email to the Orient. “So, that means we are unable to lock out friend groups of four that split up and select on the tenth floor. It has happened a few times since the software was launched.”

Abigail Martin ’26 initially registered as a single in the lottery, but she had to scramble and find a roommate after she watched someone take the last single room available.

“People actually split up, and they took the Tower singles that were supposed to be for single blocks … and as soon as my time slot happened, I saw the last single go away,” Martin said. “Luckily, I found someone that I was able to block with, and we have a double right now.”

After Round 2, there were no singles left for the Class of 2027 in Round 3. Rendall wrote that the lack of singles in Round 3 of the lottery is typical, with last year’s lottery being an anomaly.

“The big shift from last year is that there were no singles available to select in Round 3. The 2023 lottery was unusual in that it had a handful of singles still available for rising sophomores,” Rendal wrote. “As a reference, the 2022 lottery was more what we expect to see—similar to this year in that singles were all selected in Round 2 and not all rising juniors were able to select singles.”

Elise Siciliano ’27 said she had a positive experience with the housing lottery.

“Overall, the experience was good. We didn’t get a great number. We were like 60 out of 84,” Siciliano said. “But I think us blocking as a [group of] five helped us, and we were able to get Stowe Hall, which we wanted.”

Rendall noted that this is only the third year of the housing lottery that includes the new complex in Harpswell Apartments, so trends in housing may still be difficult to predict.


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