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‘The Shaft’ Category

The Shaft | Apr. 20 3:49 pm EST
Off Campus

The off-campus housing lottery part II: Signing and moving in

This is the second in a two-part series on the NYC apartment struggle. In Part I, we brought you through the housing search and visiting the apartment. Part II will cover finding roommates and settling the details. We’ll pick off right where we left off.

4. Signing the lease

OK, let’s say you’ve found a great place, and you’ve got a good-faith deposit down (or something else that will save your spot.) Move forward with signing the lease right away. Even if you don’t have enough roommates yet, that’s fine.There are enough great Columbia students searching for housing (see below) that you will be fine snatching up some early housing and filling rooms later.

Signing the lease is complicated. You need to clear background checks, which is often difficult for students, newly employed, or internationals. In some cases, you’ll need a guarantor: a family member or friend with a US bank account and assets. Sometimes landlords even require the guarantor to be in-state guarantor. The guarantor serves a good-faith purpose and is almost never actually asked to pay anything, but having a guarantor makes your application much stronger and much less likely to get rejected.

As my first lease was signed when I was a rising senior, and thus had no income, I needed guarantors. I was lucky that my parents lived in-state. A lot of international friends had problems with this. I recommend starting your housing search early if you’re international and foresee a problem. My second apartment was signed after I got a job, so my employment letter was enough: no need for guarantors.

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The Shaft | Apr. 19 3:15 pm EST
Off Campus

The off-campus housing lottery part I: Finding housing

This is the first in a two-part series on the NYC apartment struggle. Part I will cover looking for housing and visiting. Part II will cover finding roommates and settling the details. Stay tuned!

While “off-campus” is technically not a lottery, it may as well be—unless you’re careful. I moved off campus in my junior year to fulfill fraternal duties (my frat is “off-campus” housing) and in my senior year, I moved into an apartment on 122nd to continue taking care of my dog. I’ve been through it all—shitty brokers, coked-out supers, caved-in ceilings, vanishing roommates. There’s a lot to learn about the non-Columbia world!

If you’re looking for off-campus housing, chances are you’re either from the class of 2014 newly ejected from the nice, motherly nest of Columbia housing, you’re 2015 or above and just too hipster for CU dorms, or you’re looking for summer housing. While most of this advice applies mainly to students seeking long-term leases (so 2014 or dose hipsters), sections of this post are useful for summer housing-seeking folks as well! More »


The Shaft | Apr. 9 1:02 pm EST

LIVEBLOG DAY 7: The end of (in-person group selection) days

Today’s the last day of in-person group selection! Follow along as the last of the rising sophomores try not to get shafted. See the liveblog below the jump!

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The Shaft | Apr. 8 1:01 pm EST


Today is the sixth day of selection—more rising sophomores. Make sure to follow along after the jump!

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The Shaft | Apr. 7 4:04 pm EST


It’s the fifth day of selection – the pickings are abundant for mixed point groups and sophomores. Follow along after the jump!

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The Shaft | Apr. 7 4:02 pm EST
when one door closes

Barnard housing wrap-up

Room selection 2014 is over. Some are happy, some are satisfied, some are sad, and some are, well, homeless. Sophomore day started with a few happy faces. Most came in with certain expectations, and their results were rather unsurprising. 600 filled out immediately and then the sophomores went to town on Plimpton, 110th, and Hewitt. Plimpton suites were flying left and right until #1027, which was not only the last Plimpton suite, but the last six-person suite taken. This meant that groups had to start breaking up and reforming in order to fit themselves into various suites in 110th.

The last 110th suite went to number #1089. This was the very last suite taken in all of room selection. #1089 said: “I’m relieved. This is so amazing. It’s a miracle. This is the most stressful thing that’s happened to me in Barnard.”

As rooms ran out, tears ran down the faces of sad sophomores. The choice became: do I take a single in Hewitt or do I opt for the Guaranteed Assignment list? After #1138 there was no more choice: all rooms had been selected and everyone was on the Guaranteed Assignment list. This led to many emotions for the approximately 100 girls with no choice. Said one student stuck on the GA: “This is ridiculous and absurd.” Many with numbers in the 1100s or 1200s thought they’d be able to select on Friday and were shocked to find out that they couldn’t. Some students were upset that they couldn’t select into doubles in order to cut housing prices (singles cost over $1,000 more).

The 2014 housing lottery was a little different from that of 2013. For starters, there were many mixed senior-junior groups but far fewer mixed junior-sophomore groups. The mixed groups picking on junior day last year narrowly wound up in 600F suites, nearly missing the 600 block and winding up in Plimpton. Cathedral Gardens went very early this year due to 2015’s love for 15 minute walks and common rooms.

616 filled up faster than ever before: the D suites were mostly filled by seniors and C suites by RAs/disability students and some held for assignment. A and B suites were practically impossible to get without a senior pull in. Lots of juniors who expected to pick into 616 wound up in 600 or Plimpton, leaving fewer six-person options for sophomores (which is why so many groups had to break up).

Thank you all for reading and thank you all for letting me bother you outside the selection room. Look out for even more Barnard coverage in next year’s Shaft!


The Shaft | Apr. 4 1:48 pm EST
Liveblog Day 4

LIVEBLOG DAY 4: Juniors, juniors, juniors

Today is day 4 of Room Selection, when the second half of junior groups will select from the remaining suites. Check out our liveblog below the jump! More »


The Shaft | Apr. 3 7:45 pm EST

Sophomore Day Preview

Sophomore day is tomorrow and it appears that at this point, the goal isn’t to decide where to live, it’s having somewhere to live, period. Everything left will go tomorrow, presumably in this order:

  • 600Fs: There are two 6s and one 5 left and they will be impossible to get without junior/senior pull ins.
  • Plimpton: Most sophomores have grouped up in 6s and are looking to get a spot in Plimpton. However, with 37 six person groups and 23 six person suites available, sophomores with more than 22 groups ahead of them should break up NOW (this will save tears tomorrow, promise).
  • 110th: There are plenty of lovely suites left to be had in 110th. Remember that they come in various sizes and that you need to plan accordingly.
  • Hewitt: You won’t get a view of the water, but you will get your single in a great location.
  • Scraps: Sophomores will fill in the gaps in various apartments in the 600s and Plimpton, doubles in Elliot, those 2 Brooks singles everyone forgets about, and then form the Guaranteed Assignment List. More »

The Shaft | Apr. 3 2:20 pm EST
room selection

LIVEBLOG DAY 3: The mixed groups are coming, the mixed groups are coming!

Today is day 3 of Room Selection, when mixed-point groups and the first junior groups will select from the remaining suites. Check out our liveblog below the jump! More »


The Shaft | Apr. 3 10:25 am EST

RECAP DAY 2: “At least we have a view of the city!” “Do we?”

Congratulations! If you’re reading this post, you’ve survived day two of in-person housing selection. (Hey, maybe you thrived, too.) Continue your Spectrum scroll for a recap of today’s events.

Disclaimer: As of right now, our whiteboard counts are not 100% accurate, but they will be tomorrow morning. Hang tight!

East Campus hopefuls should keep in mind that there are approximately 17 options remaining—eight sixth-floor doubles and nine five-person suites with one double. According to our tallies, no other suite types are available. More »