Grinnell uses a room draw system in which your chances of getting the room you want are based on an ingenious mix of seniority and luck. Every spring, each student is assigned a number. Each class lines up outside of the concert hall in Harris to pick rooms. The juniors with the lowest numbers pick first, then the highest juniors, then the lowest sophomores, all the way down to the highest numbers of the freshman class. If you selected a roommate, the lowest number is used. Lately, given the huge intake of freshmen, campus housing has been under the highest demand.
Since incoming freshmen are not around to pick a room or dorm, the College selects their rooms for them. While some first-years end up randomly scattered across campus, a good majority ends up in Norris or Cleveland—the far north or south. To be frank, Norris closely resembles a prison camp and is at the very northern tip of campus where students have to take a commercial jet in order to get anywhere on campus. However, Norris is a great place for first-years to end up since there is nothing that can cement friendships faster than shoving 60 nervous and bewildered 18-year-olds into the same building. Overall, the housing facilities are not great. South Campus used to be the women's quarters back in the '50s, while North Campus was the men's. East Campus has fabulous facilities, though. Each dorm on East Campus has its own computer lab, laundry room, air conditioning, and an elevator. In comparison to the high-quality East housing, South Campus and North Campus are fairly unimpressive. However, North Campus and South Campus both offer students an array of rooms.