Kendall Lowery ’22
In a cruel calibration of calendars, it just so happens that the chaos of housing draw, course registration madness, and final projects all fall in the truly trying time of late April. To make matters worse, this year, the majority of Scripps students have never chosen their own housing before. So, before I disappear into the mist of post-grad existence, I’ve set out to equip the student body with my top tips for navigating the politics and perils of the Scripps housing draw.
How does the process actually go down?
1. You’ll fill out your housing application (which you’ve probably received many emails about). These applications were due on April 14, but you can continue to create roommate groups up until your housing selection time.
2. You’ll wait with bated breath for res life staff to release your housing selection time. It is still a mystery to me how these times are determined — after getting an 8:15 a.m. slot after a freshman year spent squeezing into a forced double, I assumed that there was some sort of equitable system at work, but ultimately I think it just comes down to chance (and potentially a well-placed bribe).
3. You’ll spend hours parsing through room choices, developing your strategy, and performing various rituals to maximize your housing draw luck.
4. In a cruel reenactment of course registration, you’ll watch upperclassmen snatch up your top choices one by one. Ultimately, you’ll wake up on the morning of room draw in a cold sweat, your fate drawing near.
5. You’ll choose your room and it’ll all be OK.
What resources should I use?
Room Draw Google Sheet: This collaborative spreadsheet contains a list of all of the rooms on Scripps’ campus! Input information about your current room to help future Scripps students navigate housing draw, and compare housing draw times so that you can set your expectations around what rooms are feasibly available for you.
Housing Floor Plans: These floor plans are from 2019 and may be slightly outdated, but they contain the layout and the approximate number of people allocated to each room on campus. Check them out to get a feel for the options that are available to you. They include information about sink availability, closet size, proximity to the bathroom, and more. Interested in natural light? The top of each page of the pdf is the side of the building that is closest to Harvey Mudd, and the bottom of the page is the side of the building that is closest to CMC. Rooms with CMC-facing windows are also south-facing, and tend to get more sun throughout the day! Nevertheless, as someone who currently lives in a Mudd-facing room, I can attest that my room has both plenty of light and gorgeous mountain views to boot. If you’re an early riser, you might want to opt for an east-facing window (overlooking Pitzer’s campus). Prefer a sunset view? A view to the west (towards Garrison Theater) might be for you.
Your fellow Scripps students: In my experience, Scripps students have no shortage of opinions when it comes to housing. Ask around on (social media or in-person) and familiarize yourself with the culture of each dorm. This will give you a feel for the building, as well as your potential neighbors; each dorm has a unique mix of upper and underclassmen, party life (or lack thereof), expectations around quiet hours, and more. If you want a quieter environment, Clark may be for you. Want a front seat to every Friday night pregame? Snag a room next to the Browning balcony.
Any other key advice?
If I’ve learned anything over the past four years, it’s that your residential life is determined by so much more than your actual room. The people who you share your space with, whether that’s a roommate, suitemate, or communal-bathroom companion, have a massive effect on your day-to-day life. So, I naturally asked my suitemates for their key learnings about maneuvering housing draw.
Their first piece of advice: once you know your housing time, preparation is key. The different dorm rooms on campus can vary significantly, especially in some of the older dorms such as Toll, Clark, Browning, and Dorsey.
In the years before the pandemic, the different buildings would each hold an “open house” before dorm draw where students were able to go door to door, checking out the various rooms that they were interested in. Though this event hasn’t taken place since my first year at Scripps, you can still get to know your housing options.
“Don’t be afraid to ask someone what they think of their room or if you can check it out,” said Maya Lynch ’22. “Odds are they’ll be excited to tell you about it!”
Social media (and Facebook groups in particular) are your friend when trying to track down the students who live in dorms that you’re interested in. You can access the floor plans for each on-campus housing option earlier in this article, but physically inhabiting a space is often what it takes to get a true sense of a room.
After you’ve identified what you want (and don’t want) in a dorm, my suitemates highly recommend making key decisions between rooms before the actual day of housing draw. Their advice: have backups to your backups to your backups.
“Dedicate time to creating a room ranking,” said Katja Roberts ’22. Once Roberts learned that she had one of the last draw times for housing her sophomore year, she proceeded to rank all 150 double rooms on campus. On the day of housing draw, this greatly reduced the stress attached to what room choice to make while options dwindled.
However, despite all of your preparation, a lot will still be left out of control. Things probably won’t work out the way you think they will, and that’s OK; there’s so much more to your Scripps life than where you live. Hopefully, that will be even more true as we learn to live alongside the pandemic. “I had a pretty abnormal housing process,” said Tila Warner-Rosen ’22. “But I definitely learned to roll with the punches!”
Another suitemate emphasized the importance of preparing where you can and accepting what you can’t prepare. “Don’t take anything personally,” said Navya Anne ’22. Though your dorm placement can feel like a make-or-break facet of your life at Scripps, communal study spaces, lawns, and the rest of the consortium campuses provide you with plenty of ways to extend your world outside of your dorm.
“Go in with no expectations,” said Jessica Maurice ’22. “Most Scripps dorms can be livable and lovable with the right attitude.”
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