Sophomore Lottery

Dunster House Students and Moose Mascot

After your first year, you'll move to a House that will be your home for the remainder of your undergraduate experience.

During the Rising Sophomore Lottery, you'll find out which House community you will join. The purpose of the lottery is to randomly assign first-year students (rising sophomores) to one of the twelve Houses. The lottery is administered randomly using a basic mathematical process. The only control in the lottery is for gender balance in each House. Factors related to siblings enrolled in the College or legacy families are not considered.

The Basics

All first-year students who have completed the fall term are required to participate in the lottery, including students who:

  • Are on a leave of absence or have been required to withdraw. 
  • Are intending on taking a leave of absence.
  • Are intending to move off-campus.
  • Are intending to apply to live in the Dudley Co-Operative.

First-year students who did not complete the fall term will return to Harvard Yard upon their return to the College.

Dates and Deadlines

Monday, February 28, 2022

Lottery registration opens at 10am EST on the residential portal, and remains open for 48 hours.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022 Lottery registration closes at 10am EST! All blocking group changes are due before 10am EST.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Housing Day! More information coming soon on how you will be notified of your House assignment.

Blocking and Linking

Details of the format of Housing Day are subject to change based on public health conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many students choose to enter the Lottery as a blocking group of up to eight students guaranteed to be assigned to the same house. 

Group Leaders and Letter Recipients

Each blocking group must designate a group leader and a letter recipient. Your group leader will set a group name and password so that other members of the blocking group can join.  You should only share these details with members of your group. Your letter recipient is the one who will receive the letter containing the group's housing assignment on Housing Day. To avoid confusion, we recommend letter recipients coordinate with their current suitemates so that only one blocking group is waiting in a particular suite. The group leader and letter recipients do not need to be the same person. 

Blocking Group Names

We encourage group leaders to be creative, yet thoughtful, when creating a blocking group name. Each group's name must be unique. While group name has no bearing on the results of the lottery, it is viewable to fellow students during the registration process and is provided to House staff at the conclusion of the lottery process. Blocking group names and members are also shared with the Alumni Office for their records. The Housing & Residential Life team reserves the right to edit group names that are offensive or in poor taste. 

Changes to Blocking Groups

Any changes to a group after submitting your lottery application must be communicated via email to the Housing and Residential Life team before 9:00 am on the application due date. Group leaders should send this email and CC all members of the group.

Linking Groups

Your blocking group may "link" with one other blocking group. That means that the two blocking groups will be placed in the same neighborhood but not the same house.  Individually registered students cannot link with other individually registered students. In order to link, your group leader may select another group on the residential portal. Any changes to linked groups after submission must be communicated via email to the Housing & Residential Life team. Group leaders should send this email and CC all members of both groups. Changes will not be accepted after the application deadline. 

Medical Accommodations

Students that have a housing need due to a disability may be eligible for accommodations during the Housing Lottery. Students should apply to the Accessible Education Office using the registration process and include any supporting documentation by Friday, January 28.  Specific application information is published in the Yard Bulletin starting in January. 

Gender Inclusive Housing

All Houses offer gender inclusive housing; therefore, requests for gender inclusive housing are not considered in the Lottery. If you have certain gender or gender identity-related needs that may not be met in particular houses, please reach out to the Housing & Residential Life team well in advance of the Lottery to discuss your concerns. 

Information Session for the Class of 2025