Room selection process proves to be inconvenient

The Office of Residence Life is nearing the end of its 2009-2010 room selection process, which began in mid-February and runs through April. The three-month marathon process seeks to place students into on-campus housing through four basic steps that are designed to make the selection process easy and organized.

Some students who have gone through this process, however, will likely complain about the many steps involved in securing
a room on campus.

The first step was for students to submit their $500 non-refundable deposits by March 6. Failure to pay this reservation fee resulted in immediate placement on the “housing intent list,” a waiting list for any available housing that may come up.

On March 27, students were required to submit a room/roommate request form. Failure to do so would again result in immediate placement on the housing intent list.

The third step of the process was scheduled to happen on April 3 when students were supposed to receive a letter assigning them an upcoming appointment time for their room selection. Instead of receiving their letters, students received an e-mail from Kavita Mohan, Residence Life Coordinator, stating that letters would be sent out a week late.

Room Selection Day makes up the fourth step in the process of obtaining a room. This year, the Office of Residence Life is having five different days for room selection from April 20-24, depending on a student’s year and judicial and academic records. After all is done, the total time for the room selection process is a little more than three months from when they can send their deposits to the last day of room selection.

Keeping in mind that the process ends a full four months prior to students actually moving into their rooms, the entire room selection system is excessively long and
inconvenient for students.

After looking at the room selection process step by step, it’s not hard to realize that it wasn’t designed with the student in mind. The trouble starts when students are forced to pay the large deposit in early March, before any of the “housing preview nights” which don’t start until April 15.

This ridiculously early deposit due date prevents students from planning ahead as Residence Life only offers information sessions about the process before students place a deposit, not about the rooms you are moving into.

It is also difficult to predict future living arrangements six months in advance.

Up until this year, the Office of Residence Life has had only one room selection day held on a Saturday. This year Residence Life has decided to spread the selection process out over a week, creating a new burden for involved students.

Now, there’s a decent chance that a student’s appointment time could take place during class. Why should students be forced to skip a class in order to attend their housing appointment? In addition, won’t it create the task of having to reschedule and lessen the chance of a good appointment time?

This creation of a “room selection week” has also led to problems with students who have to go to work, an internship, or school activities.

An electronic room selection day (preferably on the weekend or at night), a later deadline for room deposits and a later room selection process would be a good start in fixing the current system.

Overall, the room selection process that the Office of Residence Life offers is inconvenient and burdensome for St. John’s students. Rethinking the process would prove to be more convenient for both the
student and Residence Life.