Boris Tsang/Sun Senior Photographer

The Gothics on West Campus are among the on-campus housing options for students.

March 17, 2021

Students Confirm Housing Plans Amid Chaotic General Selection Process

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Although the past year has left many aspects of Cornell almost unrecognizable, the chaos and confusion of housing selection remains as intense as it always has been. 

Cornell opened the General Room Selection process on Monday for students hoping to live on campus for the 2021-2022 academic year. After entering their names in a lottery system, students were assigned randomly generated time slots to pick their Ithaca homes for next year.  

While the process is random, some students felt like the system places them at a disadvantage. For those eyeing a more popular dorm — like the newer buildings on West Campus — timing is everything. A later time slot often means missing out on a first choice. 

Ro-Ann Shen ’24 is a first-year student living in Just About Music, which she was randomly assigned to. Now, only after entering her name in the lottery, she said she learned how intense the process really was. 

Shen had initially hoped to live on West with her block, but the late time slot she received for the final day of general selection makes Shen think she will likely live on South Campus. 

Other students such as Sydney Nhambiu ’24 said they found the entire process of finding  on-campus housing for next year frustrating and confusing. 

“I think the biggest challenge was reading the bed availability chart that we were given to track the spaces in each house left as housing opened,” Nhambiu said. “It was so confusing and almost impossible to read, so we basically had to adjust our game plan on the fly when our time slot came up.” 

But Nhambiu said she was ultimately happy with the outcome and secured rooms in the main William Keeton House building for everyone in her block, which she said she had heard was one of the best buildings. 

While sophomores are guaranteed housing, many upperclassmen who wanted to remain on campus have found alternatives to the general housing program. According to Cornell Housing, about 46 percent of undergraduates live in on-campus housing. 

Giovanni Moreira ’23 took advantage of Continued Occupancy and will live on West Campus for a second year — a process that allows students to apply to live in the same building on West or South Campus.

“I basically found out I got housing on West a week or two before people who did the general housing process did,” Moreira said. “It was all a pretty calm and easy process to go through,  and I’m pretty excited about living in the Cook Main House next year. It’ll be nice not living in the Gothics.”

Moreira expressed that he was eager to not live in the Gothics anymore, citing bugs and constantly varying temperature as his main concerns. 

Kevyn Morales ’23 also went through Continued Occupancy,  a decision primarily fueled by safety concerns if he lived in an apartment. However, he said he wished living on West Campus did not force him to buy the expensive unlimited meal plan, which cost $2,721 for fall 2020 semester and $3,131 for spring 2021 semester. 

While these students have been lucky with their assignments, many students are still waiting on their time slots to take place, with the General Selection process open until Wednesday.  

Although he did not face any challenges with the General Selection process himself, Sojeet Sharma ’23 said he felt the lottery system can disadvantage many students.

“I worry and feel for those who got the short end of the stick, as with a lottery, where there are winners, there will always be those on the other side,” Sharma said. “A lottery is both fair and unfair in that sense.”