Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is designed to provide students interested in living off campus with a quick reference for any questions they may have.  For other questions and assistance, please contact Lisa Rendall in the Office of Residential Life at (207) 725-3589 or lrendall@bowdoin.edu.

Lottery Logistics

What do I need to do to get permission from the College to live off campus?

Juniors and seniors must apply to enter the off-campus housing lottery.  The Office of Residential Life, in conjunction with the Dean of Students Office, reserves the right to deny any application to enter the off-campus housing lottery if it is determined that living off campus is not the best option for the student or the local-area community.

If their application is accepted, students will then need to enter the off-campus housing lottery in blocks ranging from 1-6.   If more than 185 students enter the lottery, each group will be assigned a random number and the 185 slots will be allotted to the groups with the best lottery numbers.  Approval to live off campus is not guaranteed and therefore students should refrain from signing leases until after the Off-Campus Housing Lottery concludes and only if they receive approval to live off campus from the Office of Residential Life.  Students/groups not approved to live off campus thru this process will automatically be placed on a waitlist and notified if space becomes available.

What qualifies me to live off campus?

Rising juniors and seniors who have submitted a request and received approval are considered qualified to live off campus and enter the Off-Campus Housing Lottery.

What is the off-campus population cap?

Currently the total number of students that will be approved to live off campus is 185.

How does the lottery work? Do we enter as individuals, or as a group?

Students should plan to enter the Off-Campus Housing Lottery with the group (up to six students total) that plans to live off campus together.  Similar to the on-campus lottery, seniors will be given priority.  If more than 185 students enter the lottery, each group will be assigned a random number and approval will be given to the 185 students with the best lottery numbers.  Students/groups not approved to live off campus thru this process will automatically be placed on a waitlist and notified if space becomes available.

What should I do if I want to live with more than six people?

Students may only enter the Off-Campus Housing Lottery with groups of 1-6.  Students wishing to live with more than six students will need to form more than one group and enter the lottery that way.

If I live off campus, will it affect my lottery number in future years?

No.  Every year’s lottery is independent of each other and does not take into account students’ living arrangements the previous year.

On Campus Resources

Can I still eat at Bowdoin Dining?

Absolutely.  Just be sure to proactively sign up for the meal plan that will work best for you.

Can I still use Bowdoin's WiFi?

Depending on the location of your off campus residence, you may still be within range.  If not, you’ll need to make arrangements with a local provider.

Does Bowdoin housekeeping help clean my housing?

No.  You are on your own for cleaning, bringing your garbage and recycling to the curb and likely shoveling too.

Can I still live on campus during breaks if I live off campus?

No.  Only students living on campus are eligible for winter break, spring break or interim housing on campus.  Be sure your lease extends to the date you need to remain on campus (i.e., commencement, working Reunion, your summer job start date, etc.).

Will Residential Life help with roommate issues that may come up?

No.  The Office of Residential Life will not be able to help resolve off campus roommate issues.

Will the Bowdoin shuttle run to my off-campus residence?

The shuttle operates within an approximate one-mile radius of the campus center, an area that includes downtown Brunswick and many off-campus student apartments/houses.  If your off-campus housing falls within this one-mile radius, the Bowdoin Shuttle is available for your use.  The Bowdoin Shuttle provides service seven days a week when the College is in session.  For more information on the shuttle and the scheduled stops, click here.

Will I still have OneCard access to residence halls on campus?

Yes, for most locations you will have 7:00 a.m.–1:00 a.m. access to the exterior doors of residence halls when classes are in session.

Leases and Financing

Will my financial aid be affected if I live off campus?‚Äč

Information from the Student Aid Office can be found here.

If I am studying abroad for part of the year, will I be able to share a lease with someone?

Yes, but you will need to plan ahead as both parties will need to successfully complete Step 1.  The student here in the fall should complete Step 2 and enter the Off-Campus Housing Lottery.  Both students should complete Step 3 and sign Off-Campus Housing Contracts and submit them to the Office of Residential Life before the February 15, 2018 deadline. Be aware that your landlord or property management company will likely need to approve an arrangement to split a lease. 

Can I sign a two-year lease?

No, you should not sign a two-year lease as there is no guarantee you will be approved to live off campus for a second year.  If you are not approved to live off campus but have already signed a lease, you will be financially responsible for both your on and off campus residences.