Housing selection goes online

Residential Life has implemented changes for upperclassmen housing selection this year.

Rising juniors and seniors will be able to choose their housing online, a change from prior years when they had to pick in person. In addition, each student eligible for a lottery number received his/her own individual number, not a group number.

“This change now gives all students the ability to have more time to really think about who they may want for roommates for next year,” said Carrie Chotes, assistant director of housing services, in an e-mail.

Previously, students had to submit roommate information in December and many students felt it was too early in the year to make such a decision. This year students will have to fill out a roommate preference form and bring it to to the Room Selection Forum in March. This will solve many roommate problems, especially for rising sophomores, Chotes said.

It also gives students an advantage, said Mark Epstein, vice president of housing services for the resident student association (RSA) and the RSA representative of the Housing Task Force.

“You actually get pulled up by your roommates,” Epstein said.

But the new system isn’t free from glitches.

An administrative error caused the wrong lottery numbers to be sent to the Class of 2010. There was no error in the generation of the lottery numbers just in what was printed in the letter. A letter and notification e-mail were sent out to those students once housing services was notified of the mistake, Chotes said in the e-mail.

Over the past year, Residential Life has worked with the Housing Task Force, which includes representatives from RSA and the Student Government Association (SGA), to put together the online system.

Most universities already have online housing selection, and Epstein said Northeastern switched to be more like other schools.

“There’s a trend with online housing selections,” he said. “It’s an easy way to do it and you eliminate a lot of problems that can come up.”

Students can form roommate sets of up to five people of the same sex who all have a lottery number and have paid their fall deposits. The roommates then take the lottery number closest to number one, Chotes said.

With every student having an individual number, the largest number is larger than last year, she said.

Rising middlers and sophomores will still pick in person, but Chotes said she hopes by next year everyone will be online.

The online process is first being tried by juniors and seniors because they are the smallest demographic applying for on-campus housing, Epstein said.

“We just wanted to try it out with them so in case something went wrong we would only have to accommodate a small group of people rather than everyone applying for housing,” he said.

The classes of 2008 and 2009 will select housing during the weeks of Feb. 26 and March 5.

Information sessions about the online process will be held Feb. 14 from noon to 1 p.m. and Feb. 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Speare Commons. The class of 2011 can attend information sessions March 21 from noon to 1 p.m. and March 22 from 3 to 4 p.m. in Speare Commons to learn more about the housing selection process.

– News staff writer Mary Ann Georgantopoulos contributed to this report.

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