Randomly within each class year.
As stated on our homepage, we are not affiliate with Res Life. For this reason we do not know when the application will be available, but typically it is released at the beginning of the Spring semester.
There is no way to get a lower lottery number.
You can request someone to be in the same suite/apartment as you, but not on the same floor. They can select the same floor as you but there is no way to request this.
Sadly we are unable to determine this. Every year is different and with more people in the lottery each year due to increased attendance at RPI, it is hard to answer this.
The lottery process is for returning students (rising sophomores, juniors, seniors). Incoming freshmen do not have to worry about this. You should have received a housing preference form as an incoming freshman – this is a first forms received, first preference process.
RPI does not assign the halls. Students are entered in the lottery (you have to sign up for the lottery as an upperclass student). ResLife randomly assigns lottery numbers. Students choose their room based off of the numbers. This is a really simple breakdown of a more complicated process, but you do not need to worry about this for another year.
Thanks for the questions! I’m not sure of the contract for students, but I believe that sophomores are also guaranteed housing, as they have to live on-campus (as of the incoming Class of 2013).
(1) There is a considerable amount of off-campus housing in the area. Many (maybe ~50% of the class) students opt to move off campus beginning their junior year. This housing is available through local landlords and is rented by students (graduate and undergraduate) as well as local members of the community who work in the area. Check out ResLife’s Off Campus page for more resources. Pay close attention to the link for “Jump Off Campus”
(2) If you wish, it is VERY possible to live on campus all four years. You may not get the housing that you prefer (which depends on how the lotteries unfold), but you can very easily live on campus all four years. Often times, you’ll get something in your top choices. Also, you can participate in CR2 after junior year, which means you sign to live in the same room for your senior year.
All 6 of you will attend the lottery at the time of the best (lowest) number. If any person cannot attend, they should complete a proxy form and send it with those who are attending.
Only the lowest number is important. If you have 1, and the others have 250+… you have 1 – that’s what matters. I will say that (historically), you will need to have number ~25 or lower to get into Sharp. Have a back-up plan!