What’s Your Number? A Survival Guide to Room Selection

By Laura K. Garrison

Lottery numbers and appointment times are out, sealing fates and breaking hearts across campus. If you’re cursing the Housing gods or consulting your interior designer (a.k.a. Mom), here’s how to survive room selection and end up in your dream space.

Rising Seniors

With all Plimpton corner singles converted to doubles,
it will be impossible for most
seniors to
get suites with only singles

You lucky ducks are going through your last room selection process and have the best numbers, so make it count! When looking through housing reviews, remember that floors five through ten of 620 and all the singles in Sulz Tower are reserved for seniors. Unfortunately for seniors, however, with all Plimpton suites containing doubles right now, unless your number is remarkably good (nothing above 70 will be a sure thing) getting a suite-style apartment with all singles has become ridiculously difficult. Start on your friends now if you think any of them are going to be willing to double if a suite is something you have set your heart on. If not, our prediction is that Sulz Tower, which in the past has been seen as a sure thing for Seniors is going to go very fast, so make sure you have a plan B (and if possible, a plan C), even if that means rearranging some groups in between appointments on Friday. If your plans and back-up plans involve switching group numbers, make sure everyone is fully clear on what is going on.

Rising Juniors
If you got screwed over as a first-year, this is your moment for redemption. Fortunately for you, you also have two years of dorm-living under your belt, and you should have a better idea of what you want out of your living experience. Single? Suite? Cleaning your own bathroom? Cooking your own food? While nothing is promised, good numbers have a decent shot at prime real estate (although don’t bank on anything that’s all singles) while bad numbers have to strategize. You should consider shooting for suites in the 600s or Plimpton, but blocking together in Sulz Tower will probably be a long shot. Have a backup plan, a backup-backup plan, and a private plan for jumping ship should the need arise. If you have a good number, you’re going to be everyone’s new best friend and have the power to broker very favorable deals (like guaranteeing you get the lone single in a suite). Remember it’s every woman for herself, meaning someone will probably end up in tears. Don’t be afraid to make your preferences clear, but be amenable when listening to friends’ requests. If you have a bad number, casually ask everyone about theirs and weigh your options. Once you’ve got an idea of who you want to live with, kiss ass. Bake cookies, buy her a Chipotle burrito – whatever it takes to make you number one on her list of potential suitemates. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Blocking Hewitt could also be considerably more
difficult than in previous years

Rising Sophomores
It’s your rookie housing season so no one is expecting much from you. Even a great first-year number is looking at leftovers (you’re probably getting shafted in the 600s – tough break). More likely you’ll end up in Hewitt or Elliot, which despite all the hate can be great places to quietly plan your ResLife revenge (and hit snooze in the morning). If you have a number in the thousands, ending up on the wait list is a very real possibility, unless you make a suicide pact with a friend with a significantly better number. As I recall, my number was around 1100 last year and I was assigned to a Hewitt single in late-July. This actually worked out better than expected for me (I can sleep in, a bunch of friends live down the hall, I can walk around naked in my own room, etc.) so don’t lose faith, and stay flexible. And for you first-years with dreams of the panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline in Sulz Tower – sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s NOT gonna happen. These rooms are senior-junior territory, and you need to stop fantasizing about impossibilities and find someone (or somebodies) who really love and care about you with which to lose your room selection virginity. If it doesn’t work out, pray ResLife doesn’t start indiscriminately turning singles into doubles the first week of August.

Long story short, room selection sucks. It’s never fair, and someone will undoubtedly get the short end of the stick. Friendships will be (temporarily) shattered, alliances will be broken, and sour grapes will abound. The important thing to remember is that you’re guaranteed somewhere to live. Every living situation has its positives and negatives, and you may be pleasantly surprised to realize you live best in a space you originally considered less than ideal. Like everything else in college, room selection is about perspective and self-discovery. So enter Brooks TV lounge with a brave face and an open mind. I wish you luck. And that you have a shoulder to cry on should you need it.

Laura K. Garrison is a sophomore at Barnard and Managing Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

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