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Credit: Luke Chen , Luke Chen

Interested in living in the high rises? Time slots for choosing your room and building for next school year are awarded to people with the most “points,” so upping yours is a solid strategy for snagging your dream room. Earning points isn’t necessarily easy, but with a few quick tricks you can find a way to game the process.

Tag along with some friends

Current residents get the earliest slots and have way more points than outsiders, so if you know upperclassmen in the high rises, convince them you’ll be a great roommate. A resident of any building can pull someone into his or her housing group, so you’ll get an earlier timeslot if you plan to room with them. “Get to know people sooner rather than later,” House Dean of Harrison College House Frank Pellicone said. “That way, you’re not just a burden lowering their house points average.” Current residents lose some house points when they bring in new members because the entire group’s points are averaged. And careful: at least half of the group members hoping to live together must be current house residents for the points to count at all. But there’s still hope for you if you can find the right group.

Apply to a residential program

Joining a house residential program earns you an automatic spot in the building, so you can skip the points system altogether. House staff members try to get to know students who are interested in their programs, so buddying up to them could improve your chances of being accepted. The application process isn’t that easy—you might have to write an essay on why you want to join the house—but make your best effort if you’re really invested in that high rise spot. “Don’t have your mom call to ask what you should write on your application essay,” Pellicone advised. “It’s happened.” Unfortunately, the programs can be competitive. Last year, roughly 190 people applied to Harrison’s residential programs alone. But at least there are lots of programs to choose from, so you can try to apply to one that suits you best.

Find a Group of three or four

Three bedroom quads or triples are the most common room types in the high rises, so your chances are better if you’re looking for a space in a trio or quartet. But configurations can change year to year depending on what’s in demand. “Lately, a one bedroom, one bathroom option has become more popular because of the economy,” Pellicone said.

If you’re already in, make the most of it

The truth is, for all the freshmen who aren’t FreshEx students living in Harrison their first year, you’re at a disadvantage. But if you’re one of the lucky few, take advantage of it. Current residents of high rises earn points for participating in college house activities, such as working in the house or playing on a house intramural sports team. Students in residential programs also earn points if they actively participate in the program. College houses are even hoping to expand the point boost for in-house residents. One idea in Harrison is to create an online journal where residents can submit posts, which would award them housing points. “We want current residents to participate in ways that we think are meaningful and represent the spirit of the house,” Pellicone said. So for almost all students going into your sophomore year, the bottom line is to always have a plan B.

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