The housing selection process for 2020-2021 has begun. It arrives with some changes from last year.
This is Director of Campus Life Eleanor Kahn’s second year running the housing selection process and the second year in a row it will be online. Before her, it was on paper and in-person two years ago, and online the year before that.
Some of the changes Kahn has implemented are meant to eventually make the process shorter.
“My goal is to get housing selection to not be a month long process, so this is kind of step one in that process. If things go well this year, then I’ll be able to see what we need in between (selection) times,” she said.
Students will now be able to select roommates up until they select a room. In past years, there was a set period of roommate selection followed by room selection after the priority numbers had been averaged. Now, the lowest priority number in the group will be used, rather than the average, which helps make the process quicker.
“The idea behind it is that we should be able to move towards a shorter process as we get used to this change (…) It provides students more flexibility without having to go through multiple processes,” Kahn said.
Each person will still receive a number by lottery, with rising seniors receiving the lowest numbers and rising sophomores the highest.
Room selection will be split into classes this year, rather than housing type. Right now, the plan is to have a couple days for rising seniors to choose, then a day to reset, then a couple days for rising juniors, a day to reset, then a day for rising sophomores.
Since the lowest number in a group of roommates is being used, rather than the average, each person will have a time slot in the process. Groups will use the person with the lowest number to select their room, and then not have to use the other slots.
Kahn also suspects that there will not be many rising sophomores left for the dedicated sophomore days. Students who are planning to room with older students will use the earlier time slots with their older friends.
Students can choose up to seven roommates/suitemates. Kahn stressed the importance of communicating with future roommates and making sure everyone had accepted all of the requests.
So far the only part of the process students can do is the housing application, which is open until Monday, March 30. Kahn said she plans to only release instructions students need to complete the specific step, to help avoid confusion. The Campus Life Office is still deciding the exact time frame for future steps, but plans to have it all done by the end of April.
Juniors Isaac Milne and Matt Bailey are hoping to get off-campus next year. They will enter the off campus lottery, which is open to rising seniors. For them, the main motivation is lower cost.
If they do not get off-campus, they said they would then enter the normal process. They already have an off-campus apartment picked out, but have not paid anything down yet. Not having to worry about the lottery system was another motivator for them to look at living off campus.
“It’s less up to chance, I feel like when you live on campus (…) if you get a high enough number, you can live in a nice place like Hamblin or Tompkins, or if you don’t do well you could get stuck in the Quads,” Milne said.
Off-campus, theme housing, cultural center housing and Greek life housing will all happen before the standard housing process, so Campus Life knows who does or does not need numbers. If beds are open in these buildings, they might be available during the later process.
Further, as enrollment is expected to drop, some smaller buildings or floors in larger buildings might not be used. At the start of this year, two houses and Furrow Hall were not being used, although one house and Furrow have had people move in since then.
This also adds pressure to fill every bed space, so Kahn said double singles will probably be less likely next year.
The next steps in the housing process will start in April, after the housing application closes. The Campus Life Office will update students as the process progresses.
Kahn knows students may have questions or be confused, though. Rising seniors will have had a different housing selection process each year they have been at Knox.
“I will continue to have open hours through April as well so people will be able to come in,” she said. “If someone really needs to talk, they can always set up an appointment, because the last thing I want is someone to not get what they need or want because they didn’t communicate or ask questions or seek help.”