Housing Lotteries for 2019-2020 Academic Year On-Campus Housing

The information here should answer and explain almost anything & everything you ever wanted to know about applying for the upperclass Housing Lotteries & selecting your room for 2019-2020 academic year.

The Williams Housing Portal (“the Portal”) is used to conduct the lotteries & selections online. Not only will you apply online to the lottery for a number & selection time, you’ll select your room online as well, from wherever you may be, and on whatever connected device you’re using (though we believe a computer will work best).

  • In response to student input as well as addressing some general logistical/procedural concerns, OSL is planning on some changes to the upcoming housing lottery processes. Read below for the changes and the rationale. Many thanks to the Upperclass Residential Life Advisory Committee (URLAC) who worked closely with OSL through the fall semester on several of these changes.

    Co-Op Lottery & Selection (January 4-11)
    Similar process to previous years, but conducted two months later. Rising Seniors only. A Housing Appeals process is included as part of the Co-Op timeline (see below).

    Housing Appeals Process for 2019-2020 Upperclass Housing (March 5 – April 5)
    Applications will become available on March 5, 2019. All applications & in-person meetings must be completed by Tuesday, April 2. Decisions will be conveyed on Wednesday, April 3, and responses from approved students will be due on Friday, April 5.

    New! Rising Seniors Lottery & Selection (April 8-14)
    This new process essentially separates the first part of the past lottery process, just for rising seniors. Doing so gives rising seniors an earlier option for selecting housing, and gives rising juniors & sophomores more time to see what the rising seniors have selected so they can plan accordingly in the latter two processes.

    New! Doubles Lottery & Selection (April 15-21)
    This new process will include only double rooms. Students entering this lottery must be in groups of 2, 4, or 6, and must fill doubles within their pick groups. Doing so gives students who really want a double with a friend an earlier option for it, gives students who are anxious about the general lottery an option to select earlier with a friend with what we expect will be a bit less competition, and gives groups of students a better chance of the group sticking together in nearby doubles.

    Updated! General Lottery & Selection (April 22 – May 5)
    All remaining rooms will be available in this process. The process will be spread out over two weekends (Saturday & Sunday) to allow us to double the time in the Housing Portal for each group before the next group has access (increasing from 5 minutes to 10 minutes), as well as give rising sophomores with later picks several days to strategize with their friends after the first weekend has transpired.

    Additionally, across all of these processes…
    • We are returning to the rule that doubles cannot be picked by an individual until all singles across campus have been filled.
    • Doubles taken within a pick group will be required to be filled within one’s pick group regardless of gender – so be sure to talk that through in advance with your pick group.
    • Bed spaces in double rooms will be open to all genders.
    • Binary gender caps remain in effect per building – no more than 60% +1 student male or female.
    • For students who have a petition on file to study away for the fall of 2019 or the full year 2019-2020 who have not yet heard back from their program as of the lotteries, OSL will work with the Study Away office so we can include students who are more likely to be here than they are to be away.

    1. Pick Times – the online process via the Portal means that “Pick Times” are actually when the Portal opens for the correlating group to select a room. You can take as long as you want to finalize your assignment (until each overall process concludes) – however, the next pick group will have access to the Portal ten minutes after you have access, and the next group ten minutes later, and so on & so forth, and they won’t have to wait until you’re finished. So the longer you take to select, the higher the chance that the room you want may be taken by someone else.
    2. Proxies – because selection is online, students can access the draw from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection – so there are no proxies, per se. If you are a member of a multi-student group, you can give the Group Leader the ability to select your room for you (this is done in the Portal during the application process). If you are an individual entrant and absolutely cannot access the Portal at any point between your Pick Time and the conclusion of the process, call OSL for assistance.
    3. Questions during Room Selection – OSL staff will be available by phone for questions & concerns.
    4. The new Garfield Hall will come online for the 2019-2020 academic year. The building will offer a mix of doubles & singles via four 6-person suites and four 4-person suites, laundry on both residential floors, a nice first floor common room with vaulted ceilings & a view to the south lawn, and a full kitchen with cooktop & hood system in the ground floor with another common room.
    5. Due to a roof replacement project, the 3rd & 4th floor of Morgan Hall will be offline for the entire 2019-2020 academic year. The 1st & 2nd floors will be used, but please note that there will be scaffolding around the building & ongoing construction on the roof.
    6. Flex Rooms – due to the third & fourth floors of Morgan being offline, all Flex Rooms will be used as doubles for 2019-2020 (and Gender Caps have been adjusted accordingly).
    7. Gender Caps – gender caps are officially 60%; however, they are set up as 60% +1 student in each building, so that the Portal can accommodate the practice of allowing a pick group not to have to split up due to going over the 60% gender cap due to just going over by one person. Gender Caps do not apply to Co-Ops.
    8. Deadlines – it is VERY important that you pay attention to all deadlines, due dates, and schedules for the process, as well as any additional information that comes out from the Office of Student Life about housing. Deadlines are deadlines, and once they’ve passed, they’ve passed.
    9. Relax, & Ask your Questions. We understand that choosing your pick group and room can put a lot of pressure on you. Do your best to stay relaxed about everything, and if you have a question, contact us. We’re here to help, and we’ll respond as soon as we can. Thanks.
  • Important Dates & Deadlines

    • Friday, January 4: Lottery Application Opens in the Portal. Housing Appeals Opens on the OSL website.
    • Monday, January 7: Lottery Application Closes in the Portal. Housing Appeals Closes on the OSL website.
    • Tuesday, January 8: Housing Appeals reviewed, determinations made & conveyed.
    • Wednesday, January 9: Housing Appeals responses due from students by 12noon. Lottery Numbers & Pick Times Run, Conveyed in Portal.
    • Thursday, January 10: Room Selection Timeslots Open in Portal beginning at 7:30pm eastern.
    • Friday, January 11: Room Selection Closes in the Portal @ 3pm eastern.

    Eligibility

    Eligible Students are those who meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • rising seniors (class of 2020);
    • will be on campus in the fall of 2019;
    • have not signed a release to live off-campus for 2019-2020;
    • do not have a Lottery Hold on their record as of January 7, 2019.

    Applying

    You can apply as an individual or in a group of up to 13 total (the size of the largest Co-Op). After a group of students has decided to live together or an individual has decided to enter the lottery independently, they must create and/or join a “Room Draw Group” (yes, even as an individual).

    Step 1:  Sign into the Portal when the application process is open.

    Step 2:  Follow the step-by-step instructions found there – make sure to go to the point where it says that your application is complete.

    Step 3: Upon successful completion, you’ll receive an automated email. If you don’t receive the email, contact Gail Rondeau Hebert.

    If you need to remove yourself from a group, you can do so in the Portal on the Groups page.

    Getting & Understanding your Lottery Number

    By the end of the day on Wednesday, January 9, your lottery number & pick time will be ready – we will email you to let you know, and you will find the following information in the Portal:

    • Your Timeslot (eastern time)
    • Your Group’s Rank
    • Number of Students with Timeslots Earlier than Yours
    • Total Number of Students in the Lottery

    How the Lottery Numbers are Determined
    Because this lottery is open only to rising seniors, the lottery numbers across the lottery are generated completely randomly.

  • Important Dates & Deadlines

    • Monday, April 8: Lottery Application Opens in the Portal.
    • Wednesday, April 10: Lottery Application Closes in the Portal.
    • Thursday, April 11: Lottery Numbers & Pick Times Run, Conveyed in Portal.
    • Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 14: Room Selection Timeslots Open in Portal.
    • Monday, April 15 @ 10am eastern: Room Selection Closes in the Portal.

    Eligibility

    Eligible Students are those who meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • rising seniors (class of 2020);
    • will be on campus in the fall of 2019;
    • do not have a study-away petition for the fall or full-year on file with the Study Away Office, or are indicated by the Study Away Office as being more likely to be on-campus than studying away;
    • have not yet selected or been assigned on-campus housing for 2019-2020 (including co-op, JA, HC, ND, Housing Appeal pre-assignment, and any pull-ins);
    • have not signed a release to live off-campus for 2019-2020;
    • do not have a Lottery Hold on their record as of April 10, 2019.

    Applying

    You can apply as an individual or in a group of up to 6 total. After a group of students has decided to live together or an individual has decided to enter the lottery independently, they must create and/or join a “Room Draw Group” (yes, even as an individual).

    Step 1:  Sign into the Portal when the application process is open.

    Step 2:  Follow the step-by-step instructions found there – make sure to go to the point where it says that your application is complete.

    Step 3: Upon successful completion, you’ll receive an automated email. If you don’t receive the email, contact Gail Rondeau Hebert.

    If you need to remove yourself from a group, you can do so in the Portal on the Groups page.

    Getting & Understanding your Lottery Number

    By the end of the day on Thursday, April 11, your lottery number & pick time will be ready – we will email you to let you know, and you will find the following information in the Portal:

    • Your Timeslot (eastern time)
    • Your Group’s Rank
    • Number of Students with Timeslots Earlier than Yours
    • Total Number of Students in the Lottery

    How the Lottery Numbers are Determined
    Because this lottery is open only to rising seniors, the lottery numbers across the lottery are generated completely randomly.

  • Important Dates & Deadlines

    • Monday, April 15: Lottery Application Opens in the Portal.
    • Wednesday, April 17: Lottery Application Closes in the Portal.
    • Thursday, April 18: Lottery Numbers & Pick Times Run, Conveyed in Portal.
    • Saturday, April 20 – Sunday, April 21: Room Selection Timeslots Open in Portal.
    • Monday, April 22 @ 10am eastern: Room Selection Closes in the Portal.

    Eligibility

    Eligible Students are those who meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • will be on campus in the fall of 2019;
    • do not have a study-away petition for the fall or full-year on file with the Study Away Office, or are indicated by the Study Away Office as being more likely to be on-campus than studying away;
    • have not yet selected or been assigned on-campus housing for 2019-2020 (including co-op, JA, HC, ND, Housing Appeal pre-assignment, any pull-ins, and Rising Senior lottery);
    • have not signed a release to live off-campus for 2019-2020;
    • do not have a Lottery Hold on their record as of April 17, 2019.

    Applying

    You can apply in groups of 2, 4 or 6 only. After a group of students has decided to live together, they must create and/or join a “Room Draw Group.”

    Step 1:  Sign into the Portal when the application process is open.

    Step 2:  Follow the step-by-step instructions found there – make sure to go to the point where it says that your application is complete.

    Step 3: Upon successful completion, you’ll receive an automated email. If you don’t receive the email, contact Gail Rondeau Hebert.

    If you need to remove yourself from a group, you can do so in the Portal on the Groups page. However, odd-number groups for the Doubles Lottery are not allowed.

    Getting & Understanding your Lottery Number

    By the end of the day on Thursday, April 18, your lottery number & pick time will be ready – we will email you to let you know, and you will find the following information in the Portal:

    • Your Timeslot (eastern time)
    • Your Group’s Rank
    • Number of Students with Timeslots Earlier than Yours
    • Total Number of Students in the Lottery

    How the Lottery Numbers are Determined
    Each lottery applicant is assigned a point value – 3000 points for rising seniors, 2000 points for rising juniors, & 1000 points for rising sophomores. Your class year is based on your academic standing via the Registrar’s Office. Students who are one semester off-cycle are typically given the better point value. If you have questions about what your class year may be for the purposes of the lottery, please contact Gail Rondeau Hebert in the Office of Student Life.

    Group applications receive an average point value. A group of all rising seniors will have a point value of 3000. A group of three rising seniors and a rising junior will have a point value of 2750. A group of two rising sophomores and two rising juniors will have a point value of 1500. A group of all rising sophomores will have a point value of 1000. And on and on. Higher point values will have better lottery pick numbers than lower point values. And within identical point-values, the system randomly ranks the applications.

  • Important Dates & Deadlines

    • Monday, April 22: Lottery Application Opens in the Portal.
    • Wednesday, April 24: Lottery Application Closes in the Portal.
    • Thursday, April 25: Lottery Numbers & Pick Times Run, Conveyed in Portal.
    • Saturday, April 27 – Sunday, April 28: Room Selection Timeslots Open in Portal.
    • Saturday, May 4 – Sunday, May 5: Room Selection Timeslots Open in Portal.
    • Monday, May 6 @ 10am eastern: Room Selection Closes in the Portal.

    Eligibility

    Eligible Students are those who meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • will be on campus in the fall of 2019;
    • do not have a study-away petition for the fall or full-year on file with the Study Away Office, or are indicated by the Study Away Office as being more likely to be on-campus than studying away;
    • have not yet selected or been assigned on-campus housing for 2019-2020 (including co-op, JA, HC, ND, Housing Appeal pre-assignment, any pull-ins, Rising Senior lottery, & Doubles lottery);
    • have not signed a release to live off-campus for 2019-2020;
    • do not have a Lottery Hold on their record as of April 24, 2019.

    Applying

    You can apply as an individual or in a group of up to 6 total. After a group of students has decided to live together or an individual has decided to enter the lottery independently, they must create and/or join a “Room Draw Group” (yes, even as an individual).

    Step 1:  Sign into the Portal when the application process is open.

    Step 2:  Follow the step-by-step instructions found there – make sure to go to the point where it says that your application is complete.

    Step 3: Upon successful completion, you’ll receive an automated email. If you don’t receive the email, contact Gail Rondeau Hebert.

    If you need to remove yourself from a group, you can do so in the Portal on the Groups page.

    Getting & Understanding your Lottery Number

    By the end of the day on Thursday, April 25, your lottery number & pick time will be ready – we will email you to let you know, and you will find the following information in the Portal:

    • Your Timeslot (eastern time)
    • Your Group’s Rank
    • Number of Students with Timeslots Earlier than Yours
    • Total Number of Students in the Lottery

    How the Lottery Numbers are Determined

    Each lottery applicant is assigned a point value – 3000 points for rising seniors, 2000 points for rising juniors, & 1000 points for rising sophomores. Your class year is based on your academic standing via the Registrar’s Office. Students who are one semester off-cycle are typically given the better point value. If you have questions about what your class year may be for the purposes of the lottery, please contact Gail Rondeau Hebert in the Office of Student Life.

    Group applications receive an average point value. A group of all rising seniors will have a point value of 3000. A group of three rising seniors and a rising junior will have a point value of 2750. A group of two rising sophomores and two rising juniors will have a point value of 1500. A group of all rising sophomores will have a point value of 1000. And on and on. Higher point values will have better lottery pick numbers than lower point values. And within identical point-values, the system randomly ranks the applications.

  • Some things to think about as you prepare for housing selection.

    Who to Live With (if anyone)
    The point of pick groups is to ensure that you & your friends get to pick at the same time, although your group is allowed to split & pick into different locations if you choose to do so or when choices get slim. Although sometimes students agonize over the idea of being apart from their friends, history has shown that new friends & opportunities can arise from what may seem at first like a less-than-optimal housing situation.

    Please Note: the size of your group does not make your lottery number better or worse, nor does the timing of your application (as long as it’s submitted by the deadline).

    Where to Live

    • Floor plans & other building information can be found on the OSL website; they include approximate square-footage per room (please note: square footages are estimates only – if you are unsure of a square footage listed for a room, visit the room ahead of time – and if it seems like the square-footage listed is significantly inaccurate, let Gail Rondeau Hebert in OSL know).
    • Available Rooms – you can see which rooms are still available, regardless of your lottery timeslot.
    • Rosters (indicating who will be living in what rooms) are available in the Portal and will be updated in real-time by the system during room selection. Each building roster shows current residents first, so scroll down to find the list of future (next year’s) residents.

    Have a good number of ideas in mind BEFORE the Portal opens for you. The most-prepared students rank-order their options in advance and simply work their way through them until they get to the best-available option.

    An Important Note about Campus Construction
    Due to on-going development and renovations to various areas of the campus, any college-owned student housing may be affected by construction/maintenance activities that result in noise, dust, detours for walking paths and/or driving, or temporary parking closures. Every student is responsible for familiarizing themselves with campus construction projects that may have an impact on their current residence or future choices. Click Here for more information.

    Do Your Homework
    Even Room Draw has homework. Review the online floor plans & rosters. Look through DormTrak* (and even leave your own feedback on rooms where you’ve lived for others to see). Take room dimensions. Figure out where the sun rises in relation to the room’s window. Pace off how many steps it takes to get to the bathroom. Determine how close in proximity you can tolerate the Lasell bells. Do what you need to do – but we strongly recommend that you do it BEFORE the Portal opens for you to select a room.

    A Note on the Neighborhood Hub Houses (Currier, Dodd, Spencer, & Wood)
    These four buildings are intended to be the social centers of each of the four Neighborhoods, so its reasonable that they will be more active at certain times. If you are someone who prefers to be away from the frequent noise and other activities associated with parties & social events, think carefully before choosing a room in one of these buildings. While it is expected that there be a balance between the needs of these houses’ residents and the ability of the Neighborhood to use the spaces for events, you may find that living somewhere else is easier if you want a little more solitude.

    * DormTrak is provided by Williams Students Online (WSO), and is intended for students to share with other students about their impressions of campus residences. The Office of Student Life accepts no responsibility for the opinions expressed on DormTrak nor the accuracy of any information.
  • The Room Selection section of the Portal will open to your group as of your group’s Timeslot. Every member of the group will have access to select housing simultaneously, regardless of seniority within the group. Each group will have 10 minutes before the Portal opens for the next group. The Room Selection section of the Portal will stay open until you finalize your room selection OR the time room selection closes in the Portal, whichever comes first.

    The No Pressure Rule
    If you or your group feel pressured negatively at any point during the process, inform an OSL staff member. Students found to be pressuring other students may have their eligibility for room selection revoked by OSL (thus delaying room selection to August), and may be referred to the Dean’s Office for disciplinary action.

  • Students may not select one spot in a double until all singles across campus have been taken, and only after doubles have been filled within a pick group. If you do select a double as an individual, be aware that:

    • Another student of the same gender who is choosing housing after you may take the other spot in the room.
    • After the Room Draw, open spots in doubles will be listed as available for all mini-lotteries for the 2019-2020 academic year.
    • The Office of Student Life reserves the right to place another student of the same gender into the other spot in the room at any point.
    • Doubles which are chosen by only one person, will not be guaranteed as singles.
  • Bed spaces in double rooms will be open to all genders in all three of these processes; however, once all singles have been taken, if a student takes half of a double by themselves, the other half of the room will only be available to a student of the same gender unless both students agree otherwise.

    Doubles taken within a pick group will be required to be filled within one’s pick group regardless of gender – so be sure to talk that through in advance with your pick group and plan accordingly.

  • A house may have a composition of no more than a 60% +1 person of occupants of the same gender. The Portal accounts for this. Co-Ops do not have gender caps.

  • Quiet Housing will once again be located in Thompson Hall for the 2019-2020 academic year.

    All Williams’ student residences have residential community standards & expectations, including those regarding neighborly noise & sound level considerations. Quiet Housing at Williams is a residential community which thrives through a focused approach to ensuring a quieter living environment for its residents.

    By living in Thompson Hall (Quiet Housing), students agree to (this may be expanded by the Office of Student Life):

    • Have respect for designated quiet hours and for other residents’ need for quiet
    • Abide by quiet hours that are minimally from 10PM – 7AM (may be expanded by the community)
    • Help the House Coordinator to create and maintain additional guidelines for quiet living, along with the rest of the house community
    • Abide by any additional rules and regulations set forth in the Quiet Housing Agreement
  • OSL will be in close communication with the Study Away Office regarding students who have applied to study away. If the Study Away Office determines that you are more likely to be on campus than studying away, you may be allowed to participate in these lottery process for next year’s housing. If your plans change later and you expect to be on-campus for the fall of 2019, you may enter the August Lottery. 

  • For 2019-2020, all Flex Rooms will be used as doubles, due to the 3rd & 4th floors of Morgan being offline for the entire year.

    OSL conducts an annual analysis of the College’s upperclass bed capacity in comparison to the number of students anticipated to be eligible to enter the annual general housing lottery processes for housing for the following academic year.

    Rooms designated “Flex” will be used as doubles when necessary to ensure that there are enough beds available for the draw as well as some flexibility for situations that arise which require students to move or need a temporary housing location. Flex rooms will have two sets of furnishings at all times, whether being used as a single or a double for the year. Both sets of furniture must remain in the room, regardless of single/double usage.

  • Q:  If I submit my lottery application earlier, do I have a better chance at a good number?
    A:  No. As long as you enter the lottery by the deadline, the system does not take the time applications were submitted into account.

    Q:  Does the size of the pick group determine the pick order?
    A:  No. Pick order is based on group average point value, then randomized within the same group average point values.

    Q:  I can’t get online right when the Portal opens for me. What do I do?
    A:  You can still select a room until the Portal closes for the selection process you’ve entered. Or, if someone else in your group is your Group Leader, you can give the Group Leader permission to select your housing for you via the Portal. If all else fails, contact OSL.

    Q:  I’ve already chosen/been assigned a spot in an earlier housing process. Can I still enter one of these lotteries to see if I can get a better spot?
    A:  No. If you’ve already selected/been assigned a spot for next year on- or off-campus, you are not eligible to enter these lotteries.

    Q:  It looks like some rooms are already taken – why?
    A:  Students selected as Neighborhood Directors and House Coordinators and their pull-ins select rooms in March. Additionally, students who have been approved for Housing Appeals and their pull-ins are assigned to rooms just prior to the Rising Seniors Lottery & Selection Process.

    Q:  What’s a Lottery Hold?
    A:  Various offices on campus may place a hold on your eligibility to participate in a housing lottery/room draw. Student Health Services, Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Dean’s Office, Facilities, Campus Safety, and the Office of Student Life all have authority to place a lottery hold. Typical reasons include but are not limited to: incomplete paperwork, late payments, unpaid parking tickets, disciplinary issues, etc.

    Q:  How do I know if I have a Lottery Hold?
    A:  You’ve likely already heard from the office that placed the hold. You can also look in PeopleSoft Self-Service under Lottery Holds – click there, and if you have one, it’ll be noted there along with the name of the office(s) that has placed the hold. Also, if you have a Lottery Hold, you will *NOT* be able to access the Portal.

    Q:  How do I get a Lottery Hold released?
    A:  Contact the office that placed the Lottery Hold – once they confirm with OSL that the situation is taken care of, the hold will be released.

    Q:  What’s the deadline to get a Lottery Hold released so that I can participate in one of these lotteries?
    A:  The last day applications are accepted for the correlated lottery.

    Q:  If I select a room and then decide I want something else, what can I do?
    A:  Once you’ve made your room selection, that’s it until the summer.

    You have these options to make a change after the Room Draw:

    Option 1:  You may swap your room with another upperclass student during an upcoming Room Swap Process (the first one will take place during the summer), provided that the student does not end up studying away or leaving the College and as long as the swap doesn’t put a building over the gender cap. Notices about Room Swap Processes will be sent out via email and/or Daily Messages.

    Option 2:  Enter a Mini-Lottery (the first one is the August Lottery). Please note: if you enter a mini-lottery, your existing room assignment will be offered for all mini-lottery entrants to select from. The risk is that you may have to select a room that is less satisfactory to you than your existing assignment; however, if your existing room assignment hasn’t been selected in the mini-lottery prior to your turn, you may opt to re-select it.