In March, the Class of 2018 will begin selecting their rooms and roommates for next academic year. We've heard a lot of buzz on campus about this topic already, and have talked with Marie Schauder from Residence Life who will fill us in on the housing selection experience.
Fresh@News: Can you explain to us how the Housing Selection process works?
Ms. Schauder: In mid-March, current freshmen will receive information via email regarding the Rising Sophomore Housing Selection Process. This information will also be posted on the Residence Life website for parents to review (www.reslife.villanova.edu). The first step will be for students to complete and submit an online Housing Application, which will be available March 16- April 22, 2015. Students will be able to identify their preferred roommate(s) and complete the housing contract when they submit their application. Students who submit a Housing Application will then receive a housing selection date and time on Tuesday, April 7th after 1 pm. At their designated time (April 9th – April 22nd Monday – Friday 9:30 am – 4:30 pm), students will select a hall and room assignment.
Fresh@News: What kind of issues come up at this stage of the game?
Ms. Schauder: Finding a roommate can be an issue and this is one of the first things that students need to think about. Sometimes students choose to stay with their current roommate or they choose to find someone else with whom they feel they may be more compatible with them. Mostly it works out, but there are some painful moments too. Sometimes one half of a roommate team wants to stay together, and the other wants to live with someone else.
Another one of the issues that can frequently come up regards triples. Many students who were assigned to a tripled room wish to remain with their 2 freshman-year roommates. In previous years, we have only had a small handful of standard triple rooms in Sheehan, St. Mary’s and Alumni Halls reserved for sophomores. As they could last year, Sophomores interested in living in a triple can choose a room in Delurey Hall. The rooms in Delurey are our largest on campus and easily accommodate 3 students. Despite offering this triple room option, the number of students who lived in triples their freshmen year and want to stay together for their sophomore year will likely exceed our inventory. One of the three will need to find another roommate or go into the assignment process without a preferred roommate. Splitting the roommate trio and be difficult for all involved, but a number of students enter the process without a preferred roommate and find another student that has similar interests in housing to live with.
Fresh@News: Any thoughts or suggestions to pass along as far as finding a roommate?
Ms. Schauder: Students should seek someone with a similar lifestyle (e.g., study habits, sleeping habits). Usually the students start by looking at the students who live on their hall. This is a good strategy, but often it makes just as much sense to look for connections in their classes. Looking for someone who approaches academic work in a similar fashion is often a good place to start. Students should not pick a roommate simply because the other person has an earlier housing selection time. One reason for not doing this is based on compatibility. The other is Residence Life does not permit students to request 1-for-1 room switches after they have selected housing for next year.
Fresh@News: Suppose the student just can't find a roommate?
Ms. Schauder: This happens more often than students think and for a variety of reasons. Usually about 25% of the class does not pick a roommate and will choose a single room assignment or selects to be assigned a random roommate. Students just go into the process by themselves and choose their desired room and hall assignment based on what is available at their selection times. Their roommate will be determined by who selects the second space in the room through the selection process. Often enough the pairs who end up together work out well and stay together in the future.
Fresh@News: What if a student desires to live in a single room?
Ms. Schauder: We are finding that each year there are more and more students who desire single rooms. We have singles available for sophomores in Austin, Corr, St. Mary’s and St. Rita’s. The rooms vary in size. I recommend that students interested in single rooms, go to these halls to take a look at the various options available before selecting a hall and room during their selection time. Students selecting single rooms will be able to reserve a space for a preferred “roommate” near their chosen room, if one is available, at the time of their housing selection.
Fresh@News: So what are the most popular residence halls for the class of 2018?
Ms. Schauder: As in any real-estate operation, the three most important factors are, "location, location, and location." A lot of students want to live in the "Quad" next year. These two buildings, Sullivan and Sheehan, are on our main campus and house approximately 800 sophomore students (about half of the class). Another popular hall is Fedigan, which was renovated several years ago and also has air conditioning. Corr, Austin and St. Rita’s Halls are located on main campus, do not have air-conditioning and are popular for their single rooms and location. Students looking for a single room option with air conditioning will want to select a space in St. Mary’s Hall. St. Mary’s is located on the west campus and each room has its own sink. St. Mary’s will house predominantly sophomores, with some juniors and seniors.
Fresh@News: Are there any Special Interest or Learning Community housing options available for rising sophomores?
Ms. Schauder: We have three unique communities for rising sophomores – the Alumni Hall Service Learning Community, the Simpson Hall “Choice House” and the Corr Hall Honors Community.
The Alumni Hall Service Learning Community is for students who are interested in an intentional community focused on the integration of knowledge and experience related to service with poor and marginalized communities. Students will complete 3 – 4 hours of community service in a local school through mentoring a child or teen, tutoring in a classroom and after school programs, teaching adult literacy, teaching in local high schools, and teaching Peer Mediation to elementary or high school students or working in local soup kitchens or homeless shelters. In addition to the service component of the program, students are required to take one course fall and spring semester that are designated for the Sophomore Service Learning Community and required to register for a 1 credit integrating seminar. Lastly, students live in a community with students who share values and desire to serve the poor and examine the causes and structures in society which keep people poor. Students will enjoy Community Nights, evenings of reflection celebration dinners, orientation in August and January and day of service in September and opportunities to choose some weekends of service
“The Choice House” in Simpson Hall is a mixed gender community (males on the 1st floor and females on the 2nd and 3rd floors) for students who are actively seeking a substance-free living environment. Students can choose from a variety of room types – singles, doubles, triples and quads. While individual rooms do not have air-conditioning, the 3rd floor lounge will have a stand-alone unit to provide residents with a comfortable meeting/study space. Along with the physical attributes of the house, residents will reside with other students who respect each other’s “choices” and where alternative weekend activities will be a highlight of living in this community.
Students who select to live in “The Choice House”, do so with the understanding that those of legal drinking age will commit to refrain from bringing alcohol into the house, refrain from the use of other drugs and agree that if they choose to consume alcohol outside of the house that they do so in a responsible manner. Members of the community who cannot consume alcohol legally, agree to maintain a substance-free lifestyle and refrain from the use of alcohol or other drugs.
The Corr Hall Honors Community is a new housing opportunity available to Honors freshmen currently living in Caughlin Hall. This opportunity will provide a way for Honors students who resided in Caughlin Hall during their freshman year to continue to live in an Honors residence hall during their sophomore year. Corr Hall is located on the main campus and is near a number of other halls which house predominantly sophomore students. Corr Hall has all single rooms, but students who prefer to live with a roommate can choose to have access to two rooms with one room set up as the bedroom and the other as the study room.
Fresh@News: What is the most frequent question you receive about the housing lottery and assignment process?
Ms. Schauder: The most frequent question I receive is about requesting special consideration because the student was assigned to a “triple” or to a building on main campus (e.g., Simpson, O’Dwyer, Moriarty or Delurey) or had a challenging roommate situation. The answer is no. The reason is the percentage of freshmen who fall under one of these three scenarios equals over 60% of the current class. We feel strongly that if we were to give one student experiencing these housing concerns special consideration, we would need to apply this to all. Given the number of students impacted, doing so would remove the “special consideration” factor.
Fresh@News: What advice do you have for parents?
Ms. Schauder: Housing is an issue that has a big emotional charge for students, and a wide range of feelings can be evoked. Students sometimes need to be encouraged to get accurate information from Residence Life before they make assumptions based on what they have heard from friends. Sometimes the things they are frustrated about can be fixed, so they need to be encouraged to talk to someone before they get too upset. Often students will talk to their parents before they have really found out exactly what is going on, and then the parents pick up the concern of the students. The first path to take is to have the student try to sort out the problem with someone on campus. If that doesn't seem to be working, we also encourage parents to call us at any time and we will do our best to assist you. Please be patient, usually it all gets sorted out through a discussion with the student.
Also, please remember that the demand to reside in certain halls, especially Sullivan and Sheehan Halls (the “Quad”) historically exceeds the capacity of those halls. It is possible that students will not secure their first or second choice of housing, especially those with later selection times. It is important that students have thought about other housing options beyond their first or second choices. Please encourage your son or daughter to think about multiple housing options and to have this conversation with their prospective roommate.
Parents can look at our website at www.reslife.villanova.edu, which has a lot of information about the halls and housing at Villanova, and more specific information regarding the Rising Sophomore Housing Selection Process will be posted on the website by mid-March.
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