The end of the year is undeniably busy–filled with exams, final projects, tons of events, course registration and- for most residents- housing selection. We all know the stress of exams and course registration, but few RAs have ever been through housing selection. So how are we supposed to help when residents come to us with questions about time blocks and the waitlist? Sure you can attend the info sessions, but do you really know how it works? Today’s blog explores what you as an RA need to know about room selection.
1.Time Blocks: Over Spring Break, your residents were sent e-mails with info about their time blocks (assuming they paid the room reservation deposit). A time block is the date and time when a resident can first login to select his/her room. Residents who are working for res life next year, living with someone who’s working for res life, or living in a community they had to apply for, such as the language houses, won’t get this email because they were not entered into the housing lottery.
2. The Waitlist: Students who were in the last time blocks were put on the waitlist and given reinstatement numbers by their Area Directors (upcoming sophomores get the lower numbers and rising juniors get the higher numbers). As more people opt out of on-campus housing by choosing to live off-campus, more people get reinstated, starting with the lowest number first. (People can check up on the progress of the reinstatement list here) The waitlist presents certain complications, both in the plans of the person who was assigned to the waitlist and the person with whom he/she was planning on living because a person cannot select to live in a room on campus unless he or she has been reinstated (with the exception of overcrowding, which will be discussed later). If someone has a very low reinstatement number (1~30), they will almost certainly be reinstated before room selection begins and so it shouldn’t alter their plans for housing. If a person has a mid-range reinstatement number, it’s hit-or-miss when they’ll be reinstated, depending on how many people opt out of housing and how quickly. Therefore, it’s possible that their original housing plan may still work, but it’s also advisable that they and their roommate make alternate housing plans as well, such as an overcrowd or living off-campus. If a person has a very high number (>~150) they will be reinstated if they wait long enough, as the college promises, but this could very well occur in August, in the units, and with someone who’s convinced they’re Voldemort and Bellatrix’s love child. Therefore, bad roommates will ditch them and find someone else to live with. Good roommates might consider off-campus housing or an overcrowd, which are pretty much these unfortunate people’s only options. In overcrowd housing, roommate groups of 3 or 4 with 1 person on the waitlist (a roommate group with 2 or more people on the waitlist is not eligible for overcrowd selection) are given priority in choosing a room that’s a little bit too small. More information about overcrowd room selection can be found here.
3. Creating a roommate group: People who are eligible to participate in room selection can manage their hosing process on myHousing. This is where residents can login to see what rooms are still available for them to live in and, when the time comes, select their rooms for next year. On myHousing, a person first selects their roommate group, meaning everyone with whom they want to live next year. A roommate group should select a Group Leader, the person who’s going to be in charge of selecting the room they’re going to live in next year during room selection. This person should be whomever has the earliest time block. In order to make this person the group leader, members will have to click the green up arrow next to that person’s name until his or her name is at the top of the list of roommates. The person’s name should then have a star next to it. Everyone in the group should send the Group Leader their roommate passcode, which is located in the upper right hand corner of the myHousing window. This will allow the group leader to add them to the room during room selection.
4. Choosing a room: Before your time block, you can login to see what rooms are still available. However, the only rooms that will be listed as available are ones that meet the capacity needs for however many people are in one’s roommate group. So, someone who doesn’t select a roommate group will only see singles, where as someone who selects a roommate group of three people will only see triples, and so on. From this, a roommate group should form a rough idea of where they’d like to live (choosing a specific room is a bad idea). Keeping it realistic may be the most difficult part of this for freshmen who know that Jamestown is popular but think it’s totally realistic for them to get a suite in Bryan (possible, yes. likely, no). Once the Group Leader’s time block begins, he or she can log in and select a room. Though they don’t have to do this right away, they must do so within 48 hours of when their time block begins. Everyone else will have to login at some point after this in order to accept the terms and conditions of on-campus housing.
When it all comes down to it, everyone who wants to will find some place to live, and hopefully one they’re happy with. Try to be up-to-date on where your residents stand in the housing process and make yourself available to provide support and answer questions. Hopefully the information above will help!