The annual ‘panic-inducing cluster of disappointment:’ students face woes with imperfect housing lottery

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The housing lottery is the bane of my existence.

Each year, students are lumped into three categories: rising senior, rising junior, and rising sophomore. These categories are determined by the number of credit hours that students will have completed at the end of the spring semester.

Problem number one arises from this.

I am currently a third-year student, though I already have senior standing with 98 completed credit hours. However, I am still placed with all of the other rising seniors who will have at least 90 credit hours completed by the end of the spring semester. This problem exists within each class level. Instead of celebrating those who have achieved more, the housing lottery places each person on the same level.

While, yes, this may seem fair, there is no guarantee that students will pass all of their classes — it is entirely possible that someone will fail to achieve that rising junior or senior standing, but will still have a better housing placement than those who passed all of their classes.

The housing lottery also does not account for GPA, which seems counterproductive to everything that college is supposed to stand for.

Students are supposed to aim high, try their hardest, but why would they bother if their achievements mean nothing when it comes to things that truly matter, like where you’ll be living for the next nine months of your life?

Perhaps the lottery avoids this process to save students with late housing numbers some embarrassment. I do understand and sympathize this thought; however, it is also possible that it could force students to work harder to achieve a better housing time.

Another possible idea to change the current housing lottery is to assign times to roommate groups as opposed to individuals.

Prior to housing lottery, collect information about who each student wants to live with and provide that group with a time to select. This would also provide more information about how many people want to live in single, double, triple, etc., which could help prevent students from not even having housing at the end of the lottery.

One of my roommates for the past two years, a rising senior, has to live off-campus because we were not able to get a three-person apartment or house and, as a senior, no one should be forced to live in a dorm.

This could also help alleviate the stress that comes with underclassmen wondering whether or not there will be any housing left for them at all, a problem that Capital has had in the past (see: Capital University Uses Ohio Water Park For Student Housing Temporarily, The Huffington Post).

When asked on social media, students had several critiques for the housing process.

“Kind of disappointed that my number as an incoming 5th year senior was so low that I wasn’t able to get into any of the housing other upperclassmen could get into,” said senior social work major Monica Conklin.

Cogan Bishop, a senior accounting major, said, “[The housing lottery] doesn’t work because they give out so many ‘accommodations.'”

He touches on a point that many people also have problems with.

Handing out accommodations to students is a great concept. All students deserve a fair chance at success, and if they require accommodations, then they deserve that help. However, we’ve all heard horror stories about people abusing the system for their own personal gain, claiming to have food allergies or mental health disorders.

There are those who truly do have these problems and deserve accommodations, but there are also those who make it up to get priority housing. Once so many people begin to apply for accommodations, it become difficult to turn people away because you’re essentially claiming that one person’s disability is more important than another’s, which is never true. Students, then, have realized that the system can be abused.

It’s no secret that students have problems with housing every year. With the change from the in-person lottery to the online system, things have become immensely better. But why stop there? Continue making changes to the system until something works. Gauge the number of angry phone calls, e-mails, and tweets (and articles) and see which direction the lottery needs to go.


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