Study abroad applicants: There’s no need to fret over housing

Fear, panic, and sadness came crashing down on sophomores planning to study abroad in the fall late Monday night following the creation of a Facebook event that told tales of a new housing policy that would shatter any hope of studying abroad in the fall.

The event page quoted an addition to the University’s housing selection handbook, which states that students studying abroad in the fall “will not be able to select housing,” as once their study abroad applications are accepted, “their eligibility will expire.”

The creators of the event had seen this policy after the Office of Residential Living sent an email Monday, Will Simons (COL ’16), one of the event creators, told the Voice. On the Facebook page, the creators wrote that they believed students studying abroad would not be able to enter the housing lottery for the spring and would “have to wait until they are abroad in the fall to determine their housing situation, at which point they are not guaranteed housing or a specific space.”

This worst-case scenario, however, is more like a same-case scenario, as the change does not alter the previous housing selection process all that much. The change serves to update the previous spot-filling process to fit the new selection timeline in which rising juniors and seniors select housing at the same time as rising sophomores in the spring (previously juniors and seniors had done so during the fall semester).

Before the change, a group of four rising juniors would select an apartment in the fall, even if some were considering studying abroad. If, for example, two of the students had been accepted to a study abroad program, they would withdraw from the apartment and they would select two other students to live in the apartment or housing would either fill the spots. When the two students returned from study abroad, the students place-holding would then withdraw. This process, however, is entirely voluntary and student-facilitated. Housing would not enforce any of the agreements the students had made amongst themselves.

According to Patrick Killilee, Executive Director of Student Housing, the new process is not very different. The main change is that because students find out about study abroad prior to selection, the two students they pulled up would instead become part of their group going into selection. And because the switch before spring semester was facilitated by students in the old process, the same switch can still occur in the spring.

Killilee said that while upperclassmen, according to the policy, are not guaranteed housing on campus, Student Housing works to make sure that students returning from study abroad have a place.

“There’s no guarantee but we give try to give a strong preference to students coming back from abroad to house them somewhere on campus because it’s really hard to come back and find an off campus lease for a semester,” Killilee said. “We really try to get all the students we can housed who need it.”

The only problems that could arise in the new process are for groups where all the students plan on studying abroad in the fall (in which case they would search for whatever spots are available in the spring) and for groups using sophomores to place-hold. Sophomores would lower the number of housing points for groups going into selection, which could leave them with lower lottery picks.

Photo via Georgetown University

5 Comments on “Study abroad applicants: There’s no need to fret over housing

  1. The article gives no reason to assuage the people concerned about this change. The major problem with changing the selection process in this way is that groups of students cannot select a space regardless of their studying abroad. This is the most important part of the “pulling in” process. As is directly stated in the article, adding sophomores into the group would lower the chances of getting a good space on campus, directly harming not only the students who are studying abroad but also those who plan on living with students studying abroad. If students could sign up for selection regardless of study abroad status, they’d have the same chance as they used to have to get a good spot on campus, as related to their academic year.

    Sure, pulling in is and always was a student enforced set up, but it’s something that has been a big part of the housing process for upperclassmen. The administration has to acknowledge this state of affairs in its policy decisions, regardless of whether the process of pulling in was facilitated by the university. Pulling in would be much more difficult in this new system, given that there isn’t yet a space selected to pull underclassmen into and this wouldn’t be exactly the best way of convincing underclassmen to live with upperclassmen who they may not be as close with as they are with those in their own year. If I were to approach an underclassman friend with the offer to live in Village A for a semester, that would facilitate the “pulling in” process much more easily than if I suggested he sign up with me to only possibly get a space that’s better than what he’d get as a sophomore. I don’t know a lot of upperclassmen going abroad in the spring, and since underclassmen are a huge pool that most selection groups would be pulling their spots in with, it’s important for a group to first have a space to subsequently pull people into.

    It also would destroy the enforcement of the pulling in process when the space is established as being the underclassman’s first, since they would be less likely to move out. Underclassmen would be essentially doing the upperclassmen a favor by allowing them to select through a group of four. If the space had already been selected by the four upperclassmen as per the previous process, pulling in would reflect the upperclassmen doing underclassmen a favor by offering to live in upperclassman housing for a semester and therefore the favor would be returned by offering the students returning in the spring their spots back.

    This is also an arbitrary penalization of groups of students that gets worse depending on how many in the group are studying abroad in the fall. Out of a group of four, if one student studying abroad is substituted with an underclassman the group would be placed better than if two were, and so on. That way, a group in which three students out of four are planning on studying abroad in the fall (which is actually my current situation), that group would nearly have the same weight in a lottery pick as a group of four underclassmen. How is this fair to upperclassmen, especially those who are encouraged by the university so often to go abroad? If there was nothing wrong with the previous set up, why change it now, and why pretend it’s essentially the same when there are some clear disadvantages to this policy as opposed to the previous one that never needed fixing in the first place?

  2. i think this is a sneaky way of trying to give seniors better on campus picks in order to bring more students on campus. As Guy jones pointed out, this new system screws over people who study abroad in the fall and people living with people going abroad in the fall, i.e. 90% of all Juniors. I want to add to what he said that some people used to select for example with 2 juniors going abroad in the fall and 2 not. Then those 2 would go abroad and the slots would be filled by random people, but at least the other 2 got a nice house. Now those 2 people need to scramble to find people to pull in or they can’t even select for apartments.

    Almost no seniors study abroad, so their picks become relatively better since the juniors all get screwed. Since it is still going to be a pain in the ass to live off campus if you are planning on going abroad, juniors are likely to just put up with this change and live on campus anyway. for seniors, going into the lottery has become a little more attractive because a group of seniors isn’t as overpowered on points as they were before, and maybe fewer juniors will even be able to select for apartments if they can’t get a group of four people together if a lot of a certain friend group goes abroad in the fall.

    The only potential bright side I see is that maybe more people will go abroad in the spring. Currently I am pretty sure a fairly large majority goes abroad in the fall, maybe it would be better if that was balanced out a bit. Of course that might not even be a bright side, it might be way worse. Maybe it’s the school’s way of housing more students with fewer rooms.

    Between this, that program for freshman where you go to some event hing for housing points, and the emails to Burleith every five minutes telling us to shovel snow (as it continues to snow more snow) the school is really putting the squeeze on students’ housing. As expected.

  3. Pingback: Study abroad applicants: There's no need to fret over housing : Vox … | Study Dream

  4. Pingback: Study abroad applicants: There's no need to fret over housing : Vox … | Study Professionals

  5. Pingback: Study abroad applicants: There's no need to fret over housing : Vox … | Best Study

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>