Where you live on campus has a big impact on your college experience. With many housing options for every class year, there’s something out there for you that will best suit your needs. The only thing standing in your way is the housing lottery. 

While as a first year, the process may seem daunting, by the time you’re in your junior year, you will have mastered its many quirks and have the ability to choose your preferred housing with your group of friends or chosen roommates. But first, you need to know the basics. 

As a senior, it’s safe to say that I have had my fair share of ups and downs with this system. I attained housing through the Residential College program one year, I’ve been placed in the supplemental lottery in another and even left for summer break not knowing where I would be living the next fall. During my time at Fairfield, I have lived in Regis Hall, 70 McCormick Road, 47 Mahan Road and now Barnyard Manor. This is what I have learned in my experience on the rollercoaster ride that is the Fairfield University Housing Lottery. 

One of the most important things to consider when deciding on your housing is what you need the most. Are you a person who thrives in a socially active area? Are you someone who values their own space or requires more quiet? Is there a specific part of campus you would prefer to live closer to? All of these may seem obvious, but the more you consider them, the more likely you are to be happy with where you are living the following year. The Southside and Village are great choices if you want a more laid-back vibe. If you’re the opposite, consider the townhouses or the quad, depending on which year you’re going into. 

Next–and I cannot stress this enough–make sure to find your housing group early and quickly. This area tends to burn many students when the lottery comes around. If you already have roommates, congratulations! You’re ahead of the game, just make sure to double check you have enough (but not too many) in your group for your first choice and double check you’ve all added each other as roommates in the housing director portal (which you can find on my.fairfield.edu). You don’t have enough people in your group yet? Don’t worry. Residence Life sends out info about the housing lottery every year, what you need to look out for is the link to the roommate finder spreadsheet. Once you fill out your info, you’ll have access to a document with other students’ information about what they’re looking for. Maybe they want to live in the townhouses but need one or two more people, or a single individual wants to join a group. This document is great, just make sure you reach out to other students before the deadline. Once you have your group, you’ll get an email with your number telling you when you can choose your housing.  

One of the caveats about the housing system is that, as the name suggests, it’s a lottery. Sometimes no matter how prepared you and your group may be, it doesn’t always work out. Your group may have to split or your number may be too low. If that is the case, you’ll be enrolled in the supplemental lottery. This works just like the regular one, except there’s a little less choice. If you need a roommate or your group needs to consolidate with another, ResLife has a list of students who will need to participate in the supplemental lottery. If you call or email them, they will give it to you, and you will be able to email other people in the same situation. 

Keep in mind that just like the regular lottery, there is a chance your number could also be too low this time around. If that is the case, don’t panic. You’ll be sent a survey where you can list your housing preferences, and ResLife will place you over the summer. If this happens to you, don’t lose hope! People study abroad, they drop out of their group and sometimes they transfer out. There’s still a chance that you will be able to live in your first or second choice. 

Whatever happens, just remember that you’re not on your own. You can call ResLife with questions, ask upperclassmen for more advice, or read through the information booklet that gets sent out. Even if you don’t get your first choice of housing, that doesn’t mean your year won’t be as good as it can be. As someone who has been through the wringer with housing, take it from me–it will work out! 

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