A guide for navigating the campus housing selection process

Students will begin selecting their campus housing for the fall semester as early as next week. Above, Travis Ketchum, left, and roommate Matt Winkel, DMSB’18, center, move into East Village in January 2015. Photo by Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University

Students who applied have already received their selection or waitlist numbers for campus housing this fall—and upperclassmen will begin the room selection process next week.

Students’ selection numbers come with a corresponding day and time when they can log into the housing system and choose their rooms.

We asked University Housing Director Matt Austin to share some important tips and information for students to help them understand how the process works, how to prepare for selection day, and how to make room-picking as smooth as possible.

Key dates to know

Housing selection begins on Tuesday, Feb. 21, following President’s Day weekend. It’s a staggered process, beginning with upperclassmen. Rising fifth-year students get the first crack at room selection, followed by rising fourth- and third-year students later in the week. Rising second-year students make their selections the week after Spring Break, beginning on Tuesday, March 14.

If you’re planning to live with roommates, find out who has the best selection number—that is, the lowest number closest to one, and thus the earliest housing selection time—and have that person pull in the rest of your group. Students can pull in other students, regardless of their years, as long as those students also have selection numbers. Students cannot pull in another student who has a waitlist number or no number at all.

Other dates to know: Housing will hold drop-in tutorial sessions on Feb. 16, 23, and 27, and March 2 and 13. All sessions are from 4 to 6 p.m. in Speare Commons. The sessions are open to all students but are particularly targeted to rising second-year students who are going through housing selection for the first time. At these sessions, students can learn more about the selection process and ask questions. Attendees are asked to bring laptops or tablets, their Northeastern IDs, and any would-be roommate information in order to be prepared for the tutorial.

Communication is key

Austin says that for students, the housing process really comes down to communication. Students should connect with their friends, determine who they want to live with, and start planning ahead. This means discussing important variables such as who has the best selection number, where they want to live, what style room they’re interested in, and housing costs.

Austin advises students to compile a list of at least their top three to five room choices before heading into the selection process.


Number of students who received lottery numbers this year

Get to know the housing selection system

Last year, Northeastern implemented a new system to make housing selection as transparent as possible.

First of all, students can currently access the housing selection portal to view and compare floor plans and room costs. There’s even an option to practice the entire room selection process, if students want to get familiar with the system before it’s time for the real thing.

Then, beginning on this past Monday, Feb. 13—students can log into the portal via myNEU to see exactly what housing is still available in real time—even if their selection times are still hours or days away.

Austin said that one of the most common pieces of student feedback he received prior to the new housing system’s implementation was that students would have their top choices in mind but wouldn’t know if those options were available until they could finally access the system. Now, students can monitor the situation ahead of time, which eases some of the pressure and helps students prepare.

“Our new system is really about improving the experience for students and managing their expectations by making the process as clear and transparent as possible,” Austin said.

If students don’t see anything available that works for them on selection day, there is a backup option: they can participate in the PAWS Process, which is two components, the Placement Form and secondary selection process in May. As students’ plans change and more vacancies become available, students will have the opportunity to select from open spaces at that time.

For even more information, visit the housing website for a comprehensive overview and FAQs about housing selection for Fall 2017/Spring 2018. If students have any questions during the selection process, they can call Housing Services at 617.373.2814.