After the first year, students select their on-campus housing through "Lottery" (known more formally as Housing Selection). Students may choose to join a Greek or program house, choose special interest housing, enter the lottery individually to select a single, or enter with a group of friends to select housing together. Detailed information about Lottery is available on the Residential Life website.
First-year students may be particularly stressed by the prospect of L-O-T-T-E-R-Y in the spring. Most first-year students move into second semester feeling more comfortable with college and all the decisions Brown asks them to make, and that they have settled into the challenge of living with dozens of people they did not used to know. Then we unsettle everything in March by asking them to select rooms (and roommates) for sophomore year. Deciding who is in your Lottery Group can work out easily or be difficult. Older students share horror stories about Lottery. First-years who have loved their big-Unit-family fear a repeat of that community experience is unlikely in the sophomore year; others may be looking forward to a different experience.
In reality, Housing Selection occurs by seniority, so upper-year students select rooms first, and first-years select last. Recent improvements to the selection of sophomore rooms includes designating a number of residence halls specifically for sophomores, so that more sophomores may live together; and building renovations to eliminate randomly-located single rooms, typically in the midst of a first-year unit, that students feared they would be "stuck with" and isolated from other sophomores.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of information sessions about Housing Lottery, veteran advice, and on-line Q/A sponsored by the Residential Council, the very-engaged student advisory group working with the Office of Residential Life.