The Draw for Groups


When students apply for the Draw, they have the option of forming a group with their friends in order to increase their chances of being assigned to the same residence for the next academic year.

Students applying for summer housing should see Applying with a Group for Summer Quarter.

Tier Levels

Students who have guarantee years remaining must select a tier level on their housing application. The tier level dictates the range of numbers from which a student's random application number is assigned. Because all group members will be assigned the same application number, all group members must select the same tier. Additionally, all group members must select the same start quarter on their applications. A student who does not need housing until winter quarter would not be able to join a group of students who need housing autumn quarter.


Students indicate their desire to be a part of a group on their applications. The first group member to submit an application should select “I am creating a new group” and establishes a username and password. Usernames and passwords must be 5-8 alphanumeric characters long and must contain at least 1 letter and 1 number. The first person to apply is considered the group leader.  Group members applying after the group leader will click “I am joining an existing group” and enter the username and password as established by the group leader.

Residence Choices

All group applicants must list the same residences in the exact same order. Failure to do so will likely cause the group to become split.

The housing application gives group members the option to copy their group leader’s list of choices. Please note: If the group leader changes their choices after a group member has copied the leader’s choices, that group member must go back and recopy the group leader’s choices. Otherwise, the old choices will remain on the group member’s application. After copying a group leader’s choices or making any changes to their applications, students should double check their group retention level to ensure it is set as they would like.

Group Retention

Housing assignments in the Draw are completed by a computer program. All group members will be required to enter a number that indicates through how many residence choices they want the program to keep their group together. This is called Group Retention.

For example, if a group of four students were to set their retention rate to 8, the computer would try to assign the entire group to their first choice. If there were not four spaces available in that choice, the program would try to assign the entire group to their second choice. If there were not four spaces available in the second choice, the computer would move on through subsequent choices, trying to get the entire group into each choice. If the computer goes through the first eight choices and is unable to get the entire group into any of those choices, the computer moves on to the ninth choice but group retention ends. If there is one vacancy in the group’s ninth choice, one person would be assigned to that residence and the computer would move on to the remaining three members’ tenth choice. Group retention allows students to stay together through a select number of residence choices and then branch out on their own.

Group retention also allows larger groups to split off into smaller groups. If a group of four wants to stay together through their 14th choice and then break into two groups of two through choice 20, all group members should set group retention to 20. After choice 14, the first group of two should list different choices than the second group of two.

Group retention only works if group members list the exact same choices in the exact same order. Once a group member lists a different choice from their group mates, their group retention is invalidated and the assignment program treats that group member as an individual.

Group Tips

In order to maximize their chances of keeping their group together, students are encouraged to:

  • List many residence choices.

  • Set group retention high.

  • Keep groups small. Larger groups are harder to accommodate.

Changing groups or deciding not to be part of a group

Students can change their applications up until the Draw deadline. This means students can delete group information, change residence choices, and/or create or join a new group up until the deadline.

Special Considerations

If you apply with a student who has applied for assignment through the Disability Draw (in coordination with the Office of Accessible Education), you will need to be assigned through the Disability Draw and will not be able to participate in the main Draw or in the July Waiting List Reassignment Round. See the Medical Accommodation section for more information.  However, you still need to submit a housing application, and the housing application deadline for students going through the Disability Draw is in mid-April (approximately three weeks earlier than the standard Draw deadline).