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2019-2020 Block Housing Process

Blocking, a long-standing housing tradition at Swarthmore College, allows groups of students to live in close proximity to one another in a residence hall.  Students receive a block by participating in a Block Housing Lottery.  Block Housing Lotteries are individual housing lotteries to which students can choose blocks of a particular size.  In previous years, Blocking was manual process with paper applications, but now will be completed online via the Housing Portal.  Instead of students submitting handwritten applications, students arrange themselves via the Housing Portal in confirmed groups of roommates (blockmates), and then participate in a "Blocking Lottery" based on the size of block they are interested in.  The following are the various Block Lotteries Offered for 2019-2020:

  • 8-Person Blocking Lottery (Tue, April 2, 5-11pm EST)
  • 6-Person Blocking Lottery (Thur, April 4, 5-11pm EST)
  • 5-Person Blocking Lottery (Sat, April 6, 1-7pm EST)
  • 4-Person Blocking Lottery (Tue, April 9, 5-11pm EST)
  • 3-Person Blocking Lottery (Thur, April 11, 5-11pm EST)
  • 2-Person Blocking Lottery (Sat, April 13, 1-7pm EST)

There is a VERY SPECIFIC TIMELINE used for Blocking and Housing Lotteries, and all students are responsible for knowing the deadlines for participation.  The Housing Selection Timeline Website shows all housing selection timelines.  Additionally, a printable version of the Housing Selection Timeline is available in PDF format.

The Blocking Lotteries are completed in order from largest block to smallest block, in order to give students opportunities to participate in additional blocks should they not receive their top choices.    

The Office of Student Engagement reserves the right to change blocks or substitute rooms numbers.  Any changes will be officially noted on this website.

How Blocking Works: Step-by-Step

We have listed all of the steps, directions, and considerations students need to take into consideration before blocking.  We have also provided instructional videos on all of these steps, so please consult with them at the end of this page to aid in your understanding of the blocking process.

  1. First, students should begin to have conversations with friends whom they may wish to live with for the upcoming year.  Students who are currently abroad or on-leave and approved to return to campus for Fall can also participate, as the entire process is online via the Housing Portal.
  2. Students should then consult with the Blocking Lists for 2019-2020 to determine which blocks they are eligible to apply for.  The Blocking Lists are located below in PDF format.  While some blocks are eligible to ALL classes, some blocks are served for Rising Juniors/Seniors, and some are just reserved for Rising Seniors.  If students wish to live in students in multiple class years, they can only select blocks based on the "highest" class year (i.e. if 2 Rising Seniors wish to live with 2 Rising Juniors, they can only apply for blocks that Rising Juniors are eligible for.  They cannot apply for Rising Senior blocks).
  3. Students should then start to note and rank all of the blocks they are interested in.  Students should ONLY consider blocks that they are truly interested in living in.
  4. The Blocking Lotteries start with the 8-person Blocking Lottery and finish with the 2-Person Blocking Lottery.  This is done in order to provide students with as many opportunities to apply for blocks, should they not receive their top choices.  If you are considering multiple blocks that span multiple Blocking Lotteries, we strongly encourage you to discuss and plan accordingly with your friends before the lottery.  As an example, if you and your friends wish to live in a 6-person block in the PPR Apartments, and as a backup, are also open to a 5-person block in the apartments, discuss this beforehand and determine which friend(s) might not be in your block.  This aids in preventing confusion and potential frustration amongst friends. 
  5. The spirit of blocking is that the most important thing is for friends to live together.  As such, lottery numbers are not available during the blocking period.  Lottery Numbers will be shared with students after the blocking process concludes.  Please keep this in mind, especially if you wish to live in blocks amongst friends who span more than one class year.
  6. The day before each Block Housing Lottery, students are required to "get into their blocks" via the Housing Portal.  This is done by each student adding and confirming each roommate (blockmate) on the Housing Portal.  In the Housing Portal, under Roommate & Room Selection, select Roommates/Suitemates.
  7. You will then select the term you are seeking housing for (Fall 2019).
  8. You will then be brought to the Roommates Request Page.  In the Simple Roommate Search pane, enter in the first and/or last names of all of the preferred roommates you wish to block with.  If more than one students matches your search criteria, you will see a list of all possible students.  Select the student you wish to block with.  You will do this for each and every student you wish to live with.  Students cannot be in more than one roommate group within a specific Blocking Lottery (e.g. Harry Potter can't participate in two separate 4-Person Blocks).
  9. Once you identify your possible roommates (blockmates), they will receive an email asking them to confirm the roommate request.  They will do this in the Roommate Request Page by clicking the GREEN BUTTON next to your name.  If a student is accidentally added as a roommate request, the RED BUTTON can deny someone as a roommate.
  10. Each and every member of the block must both search for their roommates, as well as accept all roommates.  You cannot have one person send out requests to everyone, and confirm.  This is required to ensure that all roommates agree to possibly living together in a block.  We strongly recommend that for steps 6-10, you find a time to do it together, if possible.  This may make the process go faster.  
  11. To confirm that all friends are confirmed as a block, on the Roommate Request Page, after all roommate names you should see a message that says "Your roommate group is fully matched."  All members of the block have to see this message in order to confirm.  If the group is not confirmed, you will see the following message in RED "You have an unmatched roommate group."  Additionally, you will be able to see a bulleted list of unmatched roommates within the block.  Once you are confirmed, you are all set.
  12. You will need to get into your confirmed blocking groups by the deadlines, and each Blocking Lottery has its own deadline that is one-day before the Blocking Lottery.  The Housing Selection Timeline Website contains all information, including deadlines for the Blocking Lotteries.  The Housing Selection Timeline is also available in PDF format.
  13. The morning of each lottery, the Office of Student Engagement will send each student an email by 12pm EST noon confirming a specific time based on the average lottery number of the group.  This time will be the time in which members of the confirmed group will be allowed into the Housing Portal to select their block of choice.  Only one member of the group will need to login to select the desired block, so please choose someone who is available during the selection time, and has the best understanding of which blocks and rooms students desire. 
  14. The confirmed time received via email represents the time to which access is provided, and will remain on until either a block is selected and confirmed, or the conclusion of the Blocking Lottery (11:59pm EST).  Based on how many confirmed groups there are for each lottery, groups will be given access to select a block in either a 10 or 15-minute interval.  This information will be shared via email to all participants.    For example, if a group receives access to select a block at 6:00pm, the next group will also receive access to choose a block at either 6:10pm or 6:15pm, and others could take your desired block if you are late to choose.
  15. When it's time to select your block, At the top of the Housing Portal Site under Roommate & Room Selection, select Select a Room or Suite.  Note: Suite is the Housing Portal's way of saying Block.
  16. You will then see a Online Room Selection page where you can confirm your blockmates, then click "Find Available Rooms".
  17. You will then see a page with all available rooms/blocks to choose from.  All of the names of the blocks from the Blocking Lists correspond to the Suite names on the Available Rooms page.  Find the block you are most interested in, and on one of the rooms within the block select "Select Suite".
  18. You will then be taken to the Room Booking Page.  On this page, you will then assign all students in the block to their preferred room and/or bed.  Once you've done this, click "I Agree - Submit My Room Selection".
  19. Once you've done this, congratulations!  You have received your block, and all members of the block will receive an email confirming their individual room assignment.  You are now done with housing selection!
  20. Please note that once you choose a block, that decision is FINAL.  No requests to the Office of Student Engagement to change blocks will be honored.  If you have any questions about housing after you've selected your block, please contact the Office of Student Engagement after June 1.
  21. What happens if you do not want any of the remaining blocks: do not select a block.  All students who do not select a block are then eligible to participate in a future Housing Blocking Process with less blockmates.  If you are in that situation, you may need to remove students from your block.  You can do this on the Roommate Request Page by clicking the RED BUTTON next to a confirmed student's name.  Please have an honest, open, and direct conversation with your friends about this, as this is a common tension point amongst students during the blocking process.

Additional Blocking Considerations

  1. It cannot be stressed enough that communication between potential roommates is important, and can make the difference between you receiving a block or not!  The Housing Portal requires all blockmates to be an active participant in the process (i.e. adding and confirming roommates), so please ensure that your friends are staying on top of emails.  We strongly recommend scheduling meetings where you all can sit together and confirm roommates in Housing Portal, as well as develop a ranked list of blocks you are most interested in.
  2. If you have an approved housing accommodation and are interested in blocking, you need to ensure that your accommodation can be met in the blocks that you are considering.
  3. If you did not select a block and are interested in other Blocking Lotteries, the Rising Senior/Junior Housing Lotteries, or the Rising Sophomore Housing Process, refer to the Housing Selection Timeline Website to ensure you meet the deadlines for those processes.

Blocking Lists for 2019-2020

Instructional Videos on How to Block

Please visit the Instructional Videos Website, which contains videos that will introduce you to the Housing Portal, teach you how to add and confirm roommates, and how to choose a room in the Blocking Lottery.

Floor Plans

The Floor Plans Website contains general floor plans for all residential communities.  Please note that floor plans serve as a general guide, and there may be inaccuracies in some rooms (e.g. room occupancy) as updates to residence halls are completed on a regular basis.