As University students make their housing plans for the 2023-2024 school year, many are frustrated with the process of obtaining above ground housing.
Only freshmen are required to live on the grounds. Those who Choose living on Grounds during their second year can stay on Grounds for the remainder of their time at the University, and upper-class students are given priority when reapplying for the same area where they currently live. For those wishing to change housing areas, however, preferred locations are not guaranteed to be available.
Many second-, third-, or fourth-year students choose to live above ground in apartment complexes or local houses. Peyton Russell, a second-year college student, said she struggled to find above-ground accommodation after deciding not to continue living in college accommodation. She struggled with the start of the school year when students are expected to sign leases, noting that by the end of October many of her friends had already secured accommodation, while she had not. do.
“I spent a month looking for apartments and trying to find stuff and trying to make everything work and I really felt like I wasn’t going to be able to make it work and I was really stressed” , Russell said.
The students start research for accommodation at the start of the school year, usually immediately after the summer holidays and until October. During the first months of the school year, many students use platforms like Facebook to search for available apartments and groups of roommates looking for an additional roommate.
Although the process was very stressful, Russell said she was happy with the apartment she found herself in this year.
“I’m happy with how it turned out – I feel like it was kind of luck of the draw, considering the situation I was in when I accepted,” Russell said. .
Although she knows more students and has a better sense of the housing landscape after her freshman year, College sophomore Leslie Kim said this year’s research proved just as frustrating.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m more stressed now,” Kim said. “Last year I made housing plans with other girls in my dorm, but a lot of them are planning to live in sorority houses for the third year, so it’s been a bit difficult. “
Some upper class members choose Greek accommodation for the relatively cheaper prices and the ability to only rent for one semester, as many students choose to travel abroad in their third year. Most local apartment complexes rent for the full year, which means that students who wish to return home during the summer and winter holidays still have to pay rent for those months. Some students choose to seek out a sublet, who will live in the apartment and pay a portion of the rent during the months the resident is not in residence.
“I’m planning to study abroad in South Korea for the spring semester next year, so that’s definitely a factor in my decision, as I’ve heard it’s hard to find a subletter for the fall semester in an apartment,” Kim said.
Finding accommodation for alternative periods is also a challenge for visiting researchers. Visiting scholar André Sarli said finding accommodation was a very difficult process, as he arrived at the University at the end of August, when most of the accommodation for the current year was no longer available.
“The process is a bit chaotic for someone who comes from overseas and doesn’t understand the American system – for example, when the semester starts, most [apartments] rent for a year, at least,” Sarli said. “For me, it was a bit difficult to manage.”
Another factor that impacted her search for accommodation was the fact that Sarli came to university with her family. While some above-ground housing options—such as townhouses—were family-friendly, they were also often located far from the university.
“Most of the offers I’ve seen were for one person to rent the room. If I was alone, I think I would have found [housing] really a lot faster, but because I was with my family, I needed to dig a bit more,” Sarli said.
Students with families can apply to live in Copeley Hill apartments or Piedmont apartments if they want to live on Grounds. They can also, like Sarli, find accommodation above ground.
The University recently announcement plans to expand this requirement to include sophomores as part of Plan 2030. This transition could provide more opportunities for students to live in diverse communities and remove some pressure on students to find above-ground housing.
Russell said she would find it helpful if the University required students to live on the grounds for the second year. For Russell, the resources provided by the University were unsatisfactory and requiring students to live on the land for their first two years can take some stress out of the housing search process.
“I just feel like if they’re not going to provide us with housing by having students live on the land, then they need to provide better resources.”
Moreover, with the discovery of mold in many field housing complexes, some students have expressed concern that the University should upgrade housing before requiring more students to stay in dormitories.
“In general, I support mandatory field housing for all first and second years,” Kim said. “But obviously they have to fix the mold situation if they want to force people to live on Grounds.”
Sarli used this website along with Facebook and Craigslist in her search for accommodation during her six months at university. According to Sarli, Facebook groups were often filled with scammers and bots.
“I think [the University’s resource] also gives me a sense of legitimization because like I said Facebook is full of scams so I feel like it’s more legit,” Sarli said.
While he appreciated the resources provided by the University, he noted that some of the listings on the Above Ground Housing site were outdated. Sarli said he sometimes sees offers of accommodation available, but once he contacted the apartment complex, he found they weren’t available.
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