With housing lottery time slots released and available to view on their housing portals, students who need to apply for on-campus housing next year are anxiously awaiting room selection to start on March 13.
According to Kristen Loparco, director of Housing and Dining Contracts, students apply for housing in early January. In the application, students can make six-person roommate ‘blocks’ and assign block leaders, who are responsible for distributing beds to each person in the block.
“In early March, all students who applied will be issued a time slot. All members of a roommate group have the same time slot,” Loparco wrote in an email to The Sun. “During the allotted time, students will log in to the housing portal to select rooms.”
Students can live in three main areas — North Campus, South Campus and West Campus. Due to proximity and access to dining halls, West Campus housing is often most desirable and the first to run out of spots.
“It’s a sprint to get on West Campus with your friends,” said Claire Williamson ’25.
To ensure fairness, a lottery system randomly issues 20-minute time slots across three days to each student who applied to live in an on-campus residence hall. This system has caused stress among Cornelians, especially those with late time slots on March 15, the last day for selection.
Analisa Martino ’26 has a timeslot on the last day of selection. Martino expressed concern that students will fill all the spots in the newer North and West Campus buildings during the earlier time slots.
“[The lottery] is not a hundred percent fair because there are these new buildings that are super nice and then there [are] buildings that can’t even compare,” Martino said. “Obviously everyone’s going to go for the good buildings at the beginning.”
Martino also noted that dorm quality does not factor into the price students pay for on-campus housing. She suggests an alternative method of distributing housing slots, one she believes is more fair.
“It could be first come first serve, where people who have their applications submitted first get first pick,” Martino said.
With concerns over time slots and a general preference for either North or West Campus, students can turn to Cornell Housing for support.
Emma Cruz and Myranda Anderson, housing operation coordinators, held a series of housing selection demo events to answer students’ questions about general housing selection for the 2023-2024 academic year. They quickly sensed students were anxious about the upcoming selection.
“I know you all are stressed and we’re here for you a hundred percent,” Cruz said at the event.
The event covered how to submit applications and bedding preferences and included a question and answer period. Students were encouraged to reach out to Cornell Housing with questions and concerns at any point before, during or after general housing selection.
Cruz encouraged students to utilize the Bed Availability Report throughout the housing selection process, which updates every 15 minutes to reflect which rooms are still available.
Students inquired on what they could do if they no longer want to be in the roommate block they are currently enrolled in.
“The block leader does the assigning of all the rooms — however, if you log in at the time of the time slot, that breaks the block for you,” Cruz said.
Cruz also explained that South Campus tends to be underrated in the general student body’s opinion, but the free bus passes and quick access to Collegetown Bagels in Sheldon Court can be appealing.
“South doesn’t get the love it deserves,” Cruz said. “South is beautiful.”
Ultimately, if a student is not happy with their housing situation after they select their room, they can try to get into a different room.
“Students are welcome to participate in our online summer assignment swap process to try to swap with another student. Students will be emailed in late May or early June with [a] timeline and instructions for participation,” Loparco wrote.
While students are anxious to select their housing preferences, most are equally excited to see where they will live on campus next year.
“Either way, no matter where I end up, I can’t wait to live with or near my closest friends,” Martino said.
Elizabeth Gardner ’26 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].