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Housing 101: How to SURVIVE the Housing Lottery

“He who trusts all things to chance makes a lottery of his life.”
So about two weeks ago, you may have gotten an email from the Department of Community Living that could make or break your social life next year.  Fear not.  Her Campus is here to guide you on your journey through Brandeis University’s Lottery System. 
The Basics:
Depending on how many students checked the box, there could have been up to 3,000 lottery numbers passed out on the Friday of February break.  Sophomores have numbers 1-1000 and upperclassman have numbers 1,000-3,000.  Sophomores can live in the Castle, East, Rosie, 567 apartments, Village A and the first floor of Village C. Also, Sophomores are able to live in singles in Massell and North, but those are not the most desirable situations.  Juniors and Seniors can live in Grad, Ridgewood and Ziv.  People studying abroad can live in a handful of Zivs and the Village.  Only seniors may live in Common Cause Communities (Ridgewood A) and the Mods.  Certain floors within each of these quads are gender specific, but for more information on that you should visit the DCL website. Are you wondering what number will get you what housing?  Remember that every year it is different because the proportion of Juniors, Seniors and Sophomores changes, but check out the stats on DCL’s website to find out more. Also, be sure to check out Abi’s article from last year!
1.     Be selfish. – My freshman year someone told me this, and it honestly was the best advice I received.  You have to look out for you.  If you won’t study well with your best friend, than do not room with her.  If you do not like someone, but they have a really good number, do not live with them.  If you will be unhappy before you even start living with someone, stop, rethink and find a different plan.
2.     Make a Plan B. –Make sure you have a back up plan.  Nothing is worse than showing up at housing only to find that all the housing you want is missing and now you have to scramble to figure out where you are going.
3.     Come prepared. –There is a form they give you that allows you to choose your options, make sure to fill this out.  That way you won’t be doing the scrambling I was just talking about.  Also, if you are not going to be able to make it, make sure to fill out a proxy form and ensure that person knows what you want and is looking out for your best interest.
4.     Do not miss your appointment.—You can be fined $100, so make sure that you either show up, have a proxy, or decline from housing properly. 
5.     Be open-minded.—Do not hold on to the hope that you will live in Ridgewood if you have #2456.  Know that you may have to start compromising for which housing you want.
6.     Decide what is more important to you: whom you live with or where you live.  Last year my roomie and I split because she wanted to live on campus and I wanted a kitchen and people I liked.  I am still happily in grad with people I like, and she transferred from her Ziv, where she knew no one, to another housing situation after one miserable semester. 
7.     Don’t forget the costs. – Ridgewood is really expensive and so is having a meal plan.  Talk to your parents, or whoever is paying your tuition (and if that is you, GO YOU!), and decide what you can financially afford.

8.     Breathe.-  We all have gone through room selection and we are all still alive.

For the 411 on all of the housing options, look at the descriptions of the various options below and decide where you want to spend September through May of next year!
Yeah, that place by Lemberg and Usdan that looks like a Castle, you can actually live there.  Personally I have never actually been inside of there (except for Chums) but I hear that the rooms can be really nice (rumor has it that some have hardwood floors), but they also have weird angles.  The Castle is notorious for being quiet.  But hey, saying you lived in a castle wouldn’t be such a bad thing now would it? Fun fact: the castle was voted the 7th coolest dorm in the country by Her Campus.

East has a bad rap.  East bugs are often the first thing that comes to mind when talking about East, but let me tell you this: I lived there my sophomore year and did not see a single “East Bug.” In fact, I loved living in East and wouldn’t have traded living there is a second. East has two sections Hass and Pom.  In Hass you can pull in people, but in Pom you cannot.  Most people assume that Hass is the place to be because you can pull in, but honestly the hallways are much bigger, therefore louder and people are less friendly because they already have their friends with them. Pom has smaller hallways and everyone tends to be friendly because they know no one on their floor.  I am partial to Pom (shout out to POM 6!), but either way East is not a bad place to live, especially considering how close it is to upper campus.
People assume that those who live in Rosie like to party, and to be honest I haven’t seen otherwise.  Even if you and your suitemates do not want to party, the likelihood that someone else in your building will is high.  If you want to live with a bunch of your friends with a common room, than this is the place for you.  But if you want to study late night for that orgo test, you best set up shop in the library during your sophomore year.
Where is this place?  That is often a question that people ask about 567.  For those of you who do not know 567 is next to Cappy’s pizza. Each of the apartments in the building have a kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room (unless its an efficiency).  Personally I have never stepped foot in the building, but if you hate Usdan and Sherman, you should definitely consider 567.
The Village:
I lived here my midyear semester.  The place is nice—it has common spaces with a kitchen on every floor, big singles, open hallways with nooks for people to sit and do work in.  I personally had a single as a freshman and it was very isolating, but if you need your space, or you want to double up, the Village is a great place to live.  Also, there is a special meal plan that you can go on so you can cook more food.
This possibly has the worst reputation when it comes to housing.  People think that it is SO FAR AWAY.  I mean, we all have seen the Sh*t Brandeis Students Don’t Say video, and Adam Lapetina’s slam on grad is not unheard of.  But let me tell you how much of a GEM this place is.  There are 5, 3 and 2 bedroom suites that each have a kitchen, bathroom and living room.  In the case of the 5 bedrooms there is a storage closet and TWO bathrooms.  Within the past two years Grad has been redone, and is really, really nice.  Having your own kitchen is amazing.  Not eating on campus for every meal is good for the waistline and the wallet.  The common spaces are big and the bedrooms are not too shabby either.  There is a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes that brings you to campus, and if you want to walk, its only 5 minutes to the village, plus who couldn’t use to a bit more exercise? Give this place a chance!
Beauties.  These are the nicest and most expensive housing option with 4 or 6 bedrooms, a common room/kitchen and a bathroom.  Very nice, and VERY hard to get. I can’t think of more to say about this because everyone already raves about this place!
Zivs have 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 common room.  These are essentially the Rosies of upperclassmen.  Not having a kitchen is a major downside, but living with 5 of your closest friends and being able to have parties is an upside as well.  Students often choose this place once all the ridewoods are gone. 
The Mods are for seniors only and they do not have any lighting.  Honestly, you must bring your own lamps to the mods because they do not have any general lighting except in the bathroom.  The Mods were not intended to last very long, hence the name MODular.  A great social scene, and a louder place to live, but close to upper campus and Gosman. 
Off Campus:
Now, personally this is my option for next year (I will be a senior).  I did not get a wonderful number (1436) and neither did my friends, so I am forced to live off campus.  I am actually really excited.  This gives us the option of paying less and living with people we want to live with.  No drama.  My two best friends and I will be living right on South Street, in a cute 3 bedroom with a great living room and big kitchen.  So excited!  If you put yourself in the lottery and have now decided you want to live off campus you need to decline housing so you do not get charged $100.  You can do that here.  If you’re looking for an apartment, try Jump off Campus, which is where we found ours, or try Craigslist or the local papers.
Phew, that’s a lot to take in.  You can always talk to a friend, or an upperclassman if you have no clue what to do.  Good luck, and may the numbers be in your favor!
<3 HC Brandeis

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