It’s that time of year again… housing selection. This is probably one of the most stressful times during the spring semester. It can be difficult to navigate housing whether you are a rising senior or this is your first lottery as a rising sophomore. Where will you live? Who will you live with? What if you don’t get your first choice? It can be overwhelming to work through these questions.
As I prepare for my last housing lottery, I have put together some tips and advice to help you decode the housing process so you can have the best experience possible.
1. Stay informed!
The influx of emails from RLH may seem unimportant, but it is key that you read them. They contain information about changes, lottery numbers, and policies and procedures for housing. The most important thing is to know the dates and deadlines, which RLH announces in those emails. You don’t have to study them, but definitely know what’s going on. Did you know JSC is designated for upperclassmen next year? … That was in an email!
2. Be honest
Choosing your roommate or suitemates can be awkward. Suddenly, people you never even considered living with are asking you about housing. It can be difficult sometimes but you have to be honest. Do not live with someone just because you didn’t want to upset them by saying no. You will have to live with this person (or people) for an entire academic year, so try and set yourself up for success. Find a group you feel comfortable living with. They don’t have to be your best friends, just people you would feel good about sharing a space with.
3. Be realistic
I can’t stress this enough! The housing process will be easier if you have a realistic plan. The way we do our lottery is by class standing, meaning rising seniors go first, followed by juniors, and sophomores. Traditionally, most upperclassmen go for suites and apartments. It is not realistic for a group of all rising sophomores to plan to live in Blackstone. Unless you are living with someone older, it probably won’t happen. That doesn’t mean you can’t hope for it, but it may be more realistic to plan for a room in JSC. Don’t worry too much, your lottery number will just keep getting better as you continue your time at Clark.
4. Have A Backup Plan
This is super important as well. You should make a backup plan or two with additional options if you can’t get your first choice. You don’t want to be scrambling during your selection time because all the six-person Blackstone suites filled up. Talk to your future roommates to figure out the plans. I’ve heard too many stories of people being dropped from housing groups at the last second so part of the group could get better housing. Make sure everyone is on the same page just in case you all need to live in traditional dorm rooms. Otherwise, a lot of drama and stress will ensue. Keep an eye on the options you have and make a list of several different types of housing you can choose from.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Contact RLH
If you have any doubts at all call, email, or meet with RLH. Also, be sure to check the RLH website for more information. If you’re confused about something and ask your friends for help, you may get conflicting or wrong answers. The only people that completely know the housing process are the RLH staff. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You do not want to find out during your selection time that you didn’t fully understand the rules or process. Don’t forget that your RAs can also be great resources to go to for housing help. They are there to help you out, use them!
Remember that no matter what, everything is going to be okay. Housing can seem scary and overwhelming, but there are resources available to help you. I lived with a bit of a random group of roommates my sophomore year and it was the best living experience I have had at Clark. So no matter what happens, it will work out for the best. Plus, eventually you will get your first choice. Every year you get a better chance!