Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Room draw

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An example of a student kitchen

What is the Room Draw?

The Room Draw is the mechanism by which undergraduate College rooms are allocated. Essentially, students choose their room in turn from any of those still available, in an order established as described below.  The process is managed by the Accommodation Manager, Pauline Walker, and the General Manager, Chris Pope, with support from the Senior Tutor and the agreement and assistance of MECSU.

Room Draw information and notices are posted in the main walkway and outside the Accommodation Office in the basement of Pearl House.

There will be an Open Meeting to explain the process at 7pm on Monday 28 November.  You can also email questions at any time

How does the Room Draw work?

Rooms are allocated to the following five groups in order:

  1. Current JCR President and Vice President; anyone sharing a room now or next year (random order);
  2. Anyone living out now (in the private sector, not a College house) (random order);
  3. Other current 2nd years (reverse of their order the previous year);
  4. Other current 3rd years on 4-year courses (e.g. Engineers, physical Nat Sci’s) (random order);
  5. Current 1st year students (random order).

The Draw covers all College-managed rooms (on- or off-site) – single or shared, with or without en-suite facilities.  On-site room rents are based on 1) the size of the room, 2) whether the room is modern / refurbished or dated / non-refurbished, 3) whether the room has en-suite facilities; off-site rents also reflect the shared facilities available.  Rent categories are reviewed periodically, in consultation with MECSU.

Some students are exempt from the Room Draw and select their rooms directly with Accommodation:

a) Students with religious consideration or disabilities or special needs;

b) Students studying Music who need a piano and/or space for instruments; and

c) Students returning from a year away.

Timetable of Events Lent 2017

Monday 23 January

Posting of students’ ranking order for the draw; room chart and full room information available

Monday 6 February, 5pm

Deadline for requests:

  • to share rooms;
  • to form groups;
  • to declare medical conditions;
  • to email corrections;
  • to withdraw from the Room Draw
Friday 17 February

Posting of final student list / rank order.
Schedule for room sign up circulated.

Monday 27 Feb - Friday 3 Mar Sign-up for rooms in person
Wednesday 22 March, 5pm Deadline for withdrawing from a signed up room without charge: later withdrawal will incur a substantial penalty charge

Signing up Procedure

The Room Draw aims to achieve a ‘fair’ allocation of rooms across years, as agreed with MECSU, and through a consultative, supportive and transparent process.

A schedule of signing up appointments (in the period 27th February–3rd March) will be posted in the main Walkway, in the Accommodation Office and circulated by email by 17th February.

You will be able to access information on the rooms available and the room chart in the Accommodation Office and via documentation emailed to you.  MECSU hope to arrange times before the Draw starts when you can visit representative rooms in all parts of the College.

You are responsible for signing up for a room at the time specifically assigned to you, and should normally attend to sign in person.

If you cannot attend in person, you can nominate another person to sign up for you:

Either email to inform us that someone else is signing up for you, or bring written authorisation for the person to sign up on your behalf, and in each case (email or letter) indicate clearly which room(s) for which you wish to sign up.  Please give the person three choices of rooms in case your first choices are not available by the time of signing.

If you have serious problems with either coming in person or nominating someone to sign on your behalf (eg because hospitalised!), please email the every effort will be made to accommodate your needs in such circumstances.

You (or the person you have nominated to come on your behalf) must come in person to the Accommodation Office at your scheduled time to sign up for a room on the room chart.  Have a second or third choice in mind in case your first choice has already been allocated.  When you have chosen a room, you will be asked to sign an Accommodation Register which is the formal record of the room you have selected and the cost of the room per term.

NB: The lower you are in the ranking in the Room Draw, the less likely it is that your choice of room will be available.  Do, therefore, review carefully all accommodation options in advance: make time to see the different rooms and ask questions as necessary to be sure that the room you sign up for is suitable for you in terms of license agreement terms and conditions, cost per term,  dates for coming up and going down, location, style/type of room, etc.  This is particularly important to 1st years, as the lowest group in the Draw.  Your attention is particularly drawn to the length of the lease: students who expect to be in Cambridge for periods over the vacation are reminded that some 39 week leases are available, and that the College does not routinely offer funds to students who choose shorter lease periods and then apply to remain in College accommodation outside term.

If you fail either to attend your appointment yourself or nominate someone to sign for you, you will forfeit your ranking and have to sign up for a room at the time at which you present yourself.

Sharing a room

There are seven (split-level) rooms in college suitable for sharing by two people, from which you make a choice before they are released for those not sharing to choose.

Sharing means lower charges, and priority in next year’s Room Draw too, allowing current 1st years to choose the best rooms in College in their 3rd year.  If you are very low on the Room Draw list, it may well be your best option.  The shared rooms will all have appropriate facilities for each student.  Do view the rooms designed to be shared before making your choice to ensure the rooms meet your requirements.

If you want to share a room, you must let us know by the deadline shown above by emailing .

Forming a group

You can form yourselves into groups of up to six. This allows you to sign up for your rooms at the same time, making it more likely you can live together.  All students in the group must sign up at the same time.  The final ranking of the group is the mean of the individual students’ rankings.

If you want to form a group, you must email  by the deadline shown above.

Students expecting to be away on exchanges next year

MML, AMES or any other Exchange students due to spend a year abroad next year do not take part in the Room Draw this year and need do nothing about it.

Students who are currently out of residence

If you are expected to return from a year abroad, an exchange scheme, or from a period of intermission, we will contact you by email about a room allocation.

Students who require specific rooms for medical or religious reasons

If you require a room for a specific medical condition or for religious reasons, you must make your application for the room via your Tutor and/or the College Nurse who will then forward your application to Accommodation.  A letter from your Tutor or the Nurse will be required the first time you make such an application.

You must apply each year for this, by the deadline shown above, though a letter is only required the first time.

No applications for specific rooms for previously existing medical conditions or other reasons will be considered after the Room Draw has taken place.  However, if new requirements arise after the Room Draw has taken place, do please apply as above.

Room Changes & Room Cancellations

You will be charged half a term’s rent if you sign up for a room in the Room Draw and then decide after the withdrawal deadline shown above that you do not want the room, unless certified medical or academic circumstances prevent your return the following academic year.

Waiting List

There are occasionally a few more students in the published Room Draw List than there are rooms available.  However, rooms normally become available over the following months for various reasons, and everyone is likely to be offered a room sooner or later: the Accommodation Office keeps a Waiting List and offers rooms to those at the top of the list as they become available.


Chris Pope                                           
General Manager                                                      
(Accommodation, Catering and Events)

Pauline Walker 
Accommodation Manager