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Housing and Residence Life takes feedback from students to improve the random room selection process. 

Random housing lottery influences students across Ohio

Across Ohio, students make elaborate schemes to get the most desirable dorms on their respective campus and outsmart random housing lottery systems. 

“My sophomore year, I tried to get one of the nice dorms on South Green and I got stuck in one of the mods which I really didn’t like. I think we should incentivize the process by keeping a high GPA or number of credit hours,” Nathan Phillips, junior studying exercise physiology, said.  

At Ohio University, students enter a random lottery when they complete their housing contract by the required date. Upperclassmen choose first, or are entered into the returning student lottery, next, second year students and then first year student choose last. 

Upperclassmen have the option of selecting into 4 University Terrace or Hoover House during their priority selection before the returning student selection.  

“We have surveyed upper-class students and found that their top desires were a true upper-class living experience, access to single rooms and a hall that provides access to a kitchen,”Jneanne Hacker, director of Housing Business Operations in Housing and Residence Life,  said. 

Housing and Residence Life has not considered dedicating greens based on grade level. 

However, they are intentional with making halls plans that are most supportive of student needs. All returning student rooms are released at the start of room selection to give each student a chance to live in their desired hall. 

Each year, Housing and Residence Life hosts an event to invite students to discuss the logic behind the room lottery system and provide feedback to help improve the process. 

“Consistently, students at these sessions recommend that we continue assigning selection position randomly to create the most fair and equitable selection experience.” Hacker said.  

Additionally, Housing and Residence Life provides opportunities for returning students in a risk-free setting. 

“In February, we hosted a ‘find your roommate fair’ in which we had approximately 30 students attend that were searching for compatible roommates,” Hacker said. 

Similarly, returning students at Bowling Green State University are entered into a housing lottery that does not depend on GPA or credit hours. Students are sent a room selection time through their BGSU email address. 

"When the system opens up, it's like looking at seats for a concert,” Stephanie Brinkman, communications and recruitment coordinator for Residence Life at BGSU, said. “The room selection software stays open for three days so students have the opportunity to change their room during the process."

Returning BGSU students have the opportunity to live in a single or double suite that share a bathroom and a common room. The only rooms that are held by the university are singles that students may need for medical purposes and first-year dorms. 

“Most students know who they want to live with their second year, and they can be matched through a matching portal with their BGSU email address. They are given the same time for the room selection process to make securing a room easier,” Brinkman said.

At Ohio State University, the housing contract opens mid-February and is due approximately February 28 each year. Then random lottery numbers are assigned that correspond to time slots on a given day. 

Students can select a room by area of campus or specific dorms. On the room selection portal, students can see if there is another student occupying a space in the room they wish to select. That student's OSU ID and email address is available once that space is selected. 

"Up to eight roommates can be added to a group that shares a common name and password on the housing contract. After the contract is submitted, these groups receive the same lottery number to choose a dorm," Tessa Krusinski, a student housing leader at OSU, said.  


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