May 11, 2011

Late lottery offers extra time

Housing lottery process has traditionally been a stressful time of year at Knox, with students working frantically to get the housing assignment they desire. In an attempt to expedite the process, Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern decided to shorten the process to just three weeks.

“Over the past several years, I’ve heard a lot of people say how stressful lottery is over a one-and -a-half to two month time period,” he said. “I wanted to see if it would be less or more stressful over a three-week period.”

Whereas housing lottery would usually be completed by the first week or so of May, this year’s lottery will not be finished until a few days before finals, with general lottery occurring on Wednesday, May 25.

Having lottery take place later than usual has allowed some students more time to figure out their housing situations, Southern said. In the past, some students have not heard back from off-campus programs until May and have had to scramble to find housing.

The variety of types of housing at Knox can also be stressful, Southern said.

“Because of the diversity of places to live, you can go through lottery and be told ‘no’ five or six times,” he said. “I think that’s what really pushes the stress.”

However Southern’s expedited lottery experiment plays out, he hopes students will continue to give him input about the lottery process.

“Where you live is a very big decision and a very important decision,” he said. “I’m very open to feedback about what would be best.”

How lottery works

For those going through housing lottery for the first time, the process can seem complicated and overwhelming. The trick, according to Southern, is to ask questions and pay attention.

“Email may not be the preferred way to look at things, but emails from me during this time are worth at least a skim,” he said.

Although the application dates for singles, small houses and small apartments have passed, there are still plenty of options available. Over the next two weeks, students may apply for large apartments and block housing, which allows students to apply for a suite with a group of friends. Applications are available in the Campus Life Office.

“Knox students like and believe in the idea of living with friends,” Southern said. “I’m now using 80-90 percent of non-apartment housing as block housing and it’s been really successful.”

Students who do not obtain room assignments through these lotteries must attend general lottery, at which they may choose from remaining rooms on the basis of their lottery numbers.

In order to have the best chance at their first choice, Southern encourages students to remain open-minded and have many housing options in mind.

“If you want to live in Post with your friends in a single next to your friends, all … of those things are probably not going to happen,” Southern said.

More information on housing lottery can be found at

Anna Meier

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