The stress of room selection: A lack of direction creates concerns

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March 30, 2015

10:01 PM

Registration is right beside finals week as one of the most stressful times on campus. In close third is room selection: As time blocks draw closer, students must form their roommate groups, rank their dorm options and hope they can get their first choice. Despite endless Residence Life emails and numerous visits to the room selection webpage, I have to admit that I feel far from prepared.

I haven’t been left completely clueless. ResLife has done an excellent job of sending regular email reminders about each step of the room selection process. Those reminders are also easily accessible on their website. Additionally, the room selection process is described step by step, providing a useful timeline for students going through this process for the first time.

However, when it comes to actually taking those steps, there’s a lack of specific direction. At this point, I have made myself group leader of my two-person group: great. According to the website, I will be responsible for selecting a room when my time block starts. So far, so good. At the start of the time block, I will be able to see “all available rooms but will only be able to select a room that meet[s] [my] current group size.” Got it — but it would be better if I could see how to actually go through that process. The Room Selection Guide provided on the ResLife website, while helpful, jumps from to each step without always showing how to get there.

A much bigger concern involves the lack of information about other options, such as block housing or overcrowd room selection. In both cases, only the very beginning of the process is described: what applications to submit and where and when the selection process will begin. It would be helpful to know the full extent of what each option entails, as this would allow students to really weigh their options before committing to anything.

Compare this to the preparation every freshman was required to undergo before their first registration period: an entire section devoted to the process in the pre-orientation Tribe Studies course, including a registration simulation. Students were able to familiarize themselves with Banner, learning where to go on the website for each step in the registration process. On the actual day of registration, multiple orientation aids and an RA were on hand to answer any questions. I was still nervous then, but at least I didn’t feel like I was heading into a process I was more confident about.

Preparation for room selection doesn’t need to be anywhere near this involved. A simple video on the Residence Life page going through selecting a room on the myHousing system, along with the addition of some room selection-based questions on the FAQ page and more information on alternative housing selection, would suffice. No hand-holding required — just slightly more in-depth explanation.

I’ll freely admit that there is a significant chance all this worrying is for nothing. When my time block has come and gone, I might look back on all of my concerns with more than a little embarrassment. But it would be nice to know there’s nothing to worry about sooner rather than later — especially when that reassurance would require very little effort.

Email Isabel Larroca at [email protected]

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  • Isabel Larroca

Editor in Chief Isabel Larroca '18 is a Public Policy major from Arlington, Va.

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