Incoming freshmen may be in for a surprise when they receive their invitation to apply for housing on May 15. This year, the incoming class applying for on-campus housing will not have the option to rank their top residential hall choices. Instead, they will fill out a survey and the university will place them into housing.
"[W]e are here to let you know the process will be new and improved for you," said the May March to the Arch newsletter. "There is no need to worry about selecting specific buildings; however, you will be asked a series of questions on your application which will aid in your residence hall placement." The questionnaire will ask students about their preferred dorm size, location and whether they’d like to be in co-ed or single sex housing.
Students interested in living in residential colleges like Willard and PARC will go through an additional application process and apply to buildings individually.
"We've been listening to student concerns in meetings and formal assessments about housing. These changes are our way of doing all we can to get students off to great start," said Mark D’Arienzo, associate director of University Housing Administration.
He said he was confident that this would provide better options and, in the end, more choice for incoming students.
"As an incoming student, all you’ve heard are building names and what you should think about them. You don't know the community. Students might not consider the other options on campus, so this will give students more of an option rather than less of an option," D’Arienzo said.
Incoming freshman Vivian Pieto wasn't pleased upon hearing the news, though, exclaiming how disappointed she was that she would not be able to apply directly to Allison.
"All the information I have, I got from what I heard from people that go to Northwestern now, or on NU Intel and other publications, even college books," she said about the process of determining where to live. She also commented on the university's new Facebook initiative to get new students talking about housing.
"There's all these people that are adding you and messaging you [on Facebook] and I was, too. Some people I really got along with, and I wanted to room with them, but they wanted to live north and I wasn't 100 percent sure about that."
After living in a dorm he didn’t select, Mirza Drino, president of the Residence Hall Association, doesn’t see the administration’s new housing solution as a bad thing.
"The college experience is greater than where you live, " the Weinberg sophomore said, citing his freshman year experience in a hall of singles in Interfaith. “Regardless of where you live you still have the opportunity to have a great experience meet new people which is the quintessential part of the residence hall life.”
But D’Arienzo said this isn’t the final goal for the housing application process.
“Our goal is to have the freshman self-select their rooms by going online and seeing what rooms are available as well as which buildings,” he said. “But we have to go one step at a time.”