Adapted from a post from April 2014 by a former NSP program assistant!
The housing lottery is approaching, and we’ve heard lots of new students expressing confusion about the process. Since everyone wants to have some control over where and with whom they live next year, we spoke to the HOO to get a summary of what first-years should know about figuring out housing for next year. Feeling confused about the lottery? Have questions? Read on for more details!
Most people already know that the housing lottery functions based on points. Individual students get a point for every semester enrolled (so a minimum of 1 and maximum of 11). You’ll find out how many points you have from a letter in your mailbox, which will be distributed on April 20, 2 days before the lottery starts on April 22. Most first year students have 2 points. Students form groups, pooling their points and attempting to “buy” a mod. You can only try for a mod that’s the same size as your group — for instance, a group of four people can only go for a four-person mod (you can’t go for a bigger mod and hope to fill empty beds later). The housing lottery progresses from smallest to largest mods — one mod size goes up every day, from four-person, to five-person, to six-person, etc. The results of the lottery are announced the day groups submit applications, so if you don’t win the first time, your group can take the 24 hours to find a new person and re-enter. This means that strategically, it makes sense to start smaller and go bigger.
So how do these registration packets work? Everything’s done on paper in absentia, and groups get to rank their preferred mod selections. Even if you put it last, if you rank a particular mod space you are committing to living there, so if you don’t want to live somewhere, put a big X through it. Note that the most common reason that people don’t win mods is because they choose not to rank them. You win your highest rank mod that another group with more points hasn’t won. The packet of forms are due every day at 1 p.m. at the latest — anytime after is too late, so be sure to try and get your packets to the HOO as early as you can to avoid a stressful, last-minute rush. If you want to drop them off while the office is closed, you can use the mail slot located in the inner door.
There are also alternative ways to get housing for next year. Instead of participating in the housing lottery to try and get a mod, groups can try and get dorm halls. For dorm halls, you have to have a group of five, but no one is required to sign up for a double. You can also skip the lottery altogether and sign up for an individual dorm room; this method also gives you the option of putting yourself on the mod wait list to fill vacancies as they arise over the summer. Vacancies are very common, and in many years the HOO has gone through everyone on the mod waitlist, so this is a viable option. Also, the mod waitlist form allows you to narrow down the parameters of the room you’d want; for instance, you can say you only want to be placed in an Enfield single (but the stricter your parameters, the harder it’ll be to get in). There are also intentional housing communities and identity based mods, which have applications here (due Friday, April 3). There’s info about intentional housing communities here, and identity based mods here, with descriptions of all the spaces and their applications.
Still want more information? All of this info and lots more is already on the Hampshire website’s housing lottery page. All first-year students have also received a housing lottery informational packet under their doors (note: if you do not want these printed materials, please return them to your area office or the HOO so they can be recycled for other students’ use). The HOO does all of their communication with students through their Hampshire email accounts, both during the year and over the summer, so keep checking your email to stay in the loop. Students are also free to stop by the HOO, ask their RAs, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. And if you found this process confusing even with all of these resources, the HOO is always looking for feedback about how the process went.
We hope that this is helpful! Still have questions? Email us at email@example.com!