Room Selection

Grinnell College is a residential college. All full-time students are required to live in student residences and board with College dining all four years. Student residences at Grinnell College are distinctive from that of other residential colleges due to our residential philosophy and room draw practice. While living in student residences, students learn to live within the philosophy of self-governance through a variety of living experiences and interactions with other students. Upper-class students choose their rooms for the following year through our room draw process.

Exceptions to our residential policy are granted to the very few students who:

  • will be 24 years of age or older by Sept. 1 of the upcoming academic year,
  • live with their parent(s) or guardian(s) who resides in the Grinnell area,
  • are legally married or legally partnered in a civil union, or
  • have a child(ren) living with them.

Exceptions are also granted to a limited number of seniors and third-year students who request to live off-campus and have been granted permission by residence life. Permission to live off-campus must be obtained from residence life each academic year. Students should not sign a lease until off-campus permission has been obtained. Students who choose to live off-campus without receiving permission from residence life are held financially responsible for residential room and board.

Four students walk down the loggia hallway outside of their dorm

Returning second-year students must plan to have (at least) one roommate. The choice regarding roommate(s) is a very important decision. As students consider their rooming arrangements for the upcoming year, we ask that they keep in mind the decision will last the entire year.

All incoming first-year students will have (at least) one roommate. Rooms are reserved on nearly every floor in most residence halls for the incoming first-year class. Students are matched with their future roommates and assigned rooms according to the information provided on their online Roommate Form. Incoming first-year students are encouraged to answer all questions on their online Roommate Form and answer them honestly to ensure the best possible roommate match and room assignment.

In the event a vacancy occurs within a room, residence life will work with students to find a new roommate. Roommate consolidation typically begins after the start of each semester (approximately two weeks after classes begin) and continues throughout the remainder of the term. Residence life reserves the right to assign a roommate or fill a vacancy regardless of permission of the current occupant but will do its best to accommodate roommate choices.

Vacancies are filled for two reasons:

  • Having a roommate is an integral part of the Grinnell experience, especially for first-year students. When living with a peer, students learn the necessary life skills of negotiation, compromise, and communication.
  • Vacant rooms are needed for various reasons such as emergency and medical placement needs as well as providing room assignments for students returning from fall term study abroad programs and incoming spring transfer students. Our roommate consolidation process is a great way for students with a vacancy in their room to find a new roommate. The vacant room created by consolidation helps us meet our emergency placement needs.

Please feel free to contact residence life (641-269-3700) for more information.

Room Selection Policies

In February, students receive their newly assigned room draw number via email. Your room draw number is your class year/status and a unique, randomly assigned number. This number determines sequential order for room draw purposes such as substance-free and regular room draw, off-campus requests, and seniority special draws. Students are first grouped by their current class year/status (as determined by the Registrar) then sorted by their randomly assigned room draw number.

Class year/status is determined by the Registrar and indicates the total number of semesters completed. You must contact the Registrar's office if you have questions about your class status.

Class year/status does not advance for each term a student is not enrolled. Students who take a leave of absence or are suspended for any reason do not advance in class year/status for the semester(s) they are not enrolled. Students approved for early graduation do not advance in class year/status until the semester of their anticipated graduation.

All students must attend room draw unless they are:

  • participating in an off-campus study program or taking a medical/personal leave in the fall semester or full academic year
  • awarded a special residence draw or accepted permission to live off-campus
  • selected as a community advisor, house coordinator, language assistant, or Black Cultural Center or Grinnell House monitor.

Entrance into Harris Center Concert Hall will be according to class status and random number assignment. Students drawing into a double room will choose their room using the best class status and lowest randomly assigned room draw number. If two roommates have the same class status, they will attend the draw using the lower room draw number. Rising second-year students attending room-draw are not eligible for single rooms and must plan to have a roommate.

In order to participate in the substance-free room draw, students must sign up by the deadline. If your preferred type of substance-free room or residence hall is not available at your draw time, you may:

  • decline substance-free housing and return for regular room draw;
  • request to be placed on the substance-free waitlist (forms will be available at room draw).

Students unable to attend regular room draw or substance-free room draw may have a student proxy or residence life representative select a room for them. The draw will proceed without students who are late or absent. Students late for room draw may select a room upon arrival during the designated time period. Students who miss room draw must complete a Room Request Form and will be assigned a room by residence life staff during the summer.

Full-time ninth-semester seniors may live in student residences or receive automatic approval to live off-campus. Students who choose to live in the residence halls will be given an assignment on a space-available basis following room draw. Students will provide their residential preferences to the Office of Residence Life, and every attempt will be made to meet preferences. For clarification of ninth-semester or early graduation policies and procedures, please review Requirements for Graduation or refer to the Requirements for Early Graduation and Requirements for a 9th Semester sections in the Student Handbook.

A Room Draw Manipulation and Unapproved Room Change policy has been implemented to assure the most equitable room draw and room change process possible.  The intent of this policy is to prevent manipulation prior to and during room draw and to deter students from bypassing the system in place for room changes. Exceptions to the items outlined below must be approved by the Office of Residence Life.

  • Students who drew into singles are not allowed to swap rooms with other students in any other room without permission from the Office of Residence Life.
  • Students are not allowed to move into a vacancy within any room without permission from the Office of Residence Life.
  • Students may not change room assignments/swap rooms without permission from the Office of Residence Life.
  • Room draw number switching is not allowed and will not be approved at any time for any reason.

Students found in violation of the above may be moved to “end of class year placement” at spring room draw.

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