Housing is something that can make or break a college experience. As a freshman in a new environment, you’re probably randomly assigned a roommate who may turn out to be a close friend or someone who is barely tolerable. However, going into your second year of school you’ll be able to pick your own roommates and where you’ll be living.

Upperclassmen have a variety of choices when it comes to housing. You can live with one, two or three other people in apartments all over campus. Unlike a dorm room, living in an apartment comes with access to a kitchen and your own bathroom. You’ll have a lot more room than you did in the dorms, meaning more space for all your favorite things, and you get to decorate!

Living in on-campus apartments is a great way to be close to all your friends, your classes and your on-campus activities. There are often even programs held in the apartment buildings as a way to get to know whom you’re living with.

After sophomore year, you have the option to look into living off campus. A variety of apartments and houses are available close to campus or even in the suburbs of Erie if you have access to a car. You’re able to find a small apartment if you want to live on your own, or you can find a house and share it with several of your friends.

While living off campus has its benefits, there are definite precautions that need to be considered before you move. If you have older friends who already live off campus, talk with them about reputable landlords to rent from. If you make a budget for the year, make sure you factor in expenses that might not be included in your rent, like heat and internet access.

If you decide to stay on campus, there are a few ways to figure out your housing. You’ll get some information from Student Living—be sure to read it! If you have a friend already in the apartment you’ll be moving into, you get to skip all the hassle, but it’s still good to be informed of the process.

Students have to fill out paperwork, listing your top choices of apartment buildings and everyone with whom you’ll be living. Each set of roommates is put into a lottery that determines the order of housing picks. If you wind up late in the lottery, it’s not that big of a deal. You have to list a few choices, so don’t worry, you won’t end up living in a spare classroom.

Want that top spot in the lottery? It takes more than just luck. Stop by Gannon’s Get Rec’d event held in March. There, you’ll have the chance to enter a raffle to win one of the top three housing lottery slots  before everyone else gets theirs.