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The Blue & Gray Press | November 20, 2017

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In Housing Lottery, GPA Now a Factor

BY HANNAH MILLER

As a result of feedback from students, parents and staff, the housing selection process is undergoing many major changes for the 2010-2011 year.

The changes are designed to save time and reward students with seniority who want to live on campus and maintain good grade point averages (GPA’s).

Chris Porter, director of Residence Life, wanted to make the process of housing selection more personal, abandoning the “cat-call feeling” of the Great Hall.

According to the Residence Life Web site, students who have submitted a housing contract are assigned a specific time at Marye House to choose their housing. The selection process should take between 10 and 15 minutes.

“This process will take over the course of three weeks and the posters with the layouts and all the information will be available,” Porter said.
Junior Amanda Gold, President of the Association of Residents Halls (ARH), the student organization that assisted with the changes, thinks the new 10 to 15 minute time slots are an efficient use of time.

“[There is] nothing worse than sitting in a room while everyone else gets called for housing,” she said.  “Announcements of closed buildings, seeing the group that will get the last room, waiting and clearing her schedule,” are the aspects of housing selection she is glad to see gone.

Porter says that updates of housing availability will be posted online throughout the housing selection period.

Junior Alex Zelin likes the idea of a scheduled time that lasts less than 15 minutes.

“It will save time and not be as stressful,” Zelin said.

The Residence Life Web site explains the new housing selection number generation, which gives credit for academic achievements and preference to those already residing on campus. The number is based on rising class standing, on or off- campus living status, GPA and a new opportunity for committed students to turn in their contract earlier for a better number.

Off-campus students will have a chance to participate in housing selection as well this year. According to Porter, the reason for this change was the opening of 624 beds in Eagle Landing and off- campus students feeling “disenfranchised” in the past.

“We wanted to help out some off-campus students [who] were looking to come back,” said Porter.

Zelin does not see a problem with off-campus students coming back because of Eagle Landing and the extra rooms it will provide.

GPA will also be a factor in students’ housing selection number this year. According to the Residence Life website, once the GPA is rounded it will be placed in one of five groups: 3.50-4.00, 3.00-3.49, 2.50-2.99, 2.00-2.49 and 2.00 and below; the higher the GPA, the better the lottery number.

Gold supports these changes and thinks the students who work hard should get a better number.

“A lot of my friends work hard or make the dean’s list, but they have a worse number than someone who is just sliding by,” she said.

Zelin was also in support of these changes.

“I like how the number will be based on what you’ve accomplished at UMW,” she said.

The new “Early Eagle Special” featured on the Residence Life website states that students who submit their housing contracts between Feb. 15  and Feb. 22 will get a bonus to improve their chances for a better number.

Porter said the Early Eagle Special was designed as a perk for those committed to living on campus early.

“In the past, it was unfair to those who signed up early and didn’t get anything,” she said.

This new incentive helps out the Residence Life staff as well.

“Residence Life keeps track of the contracts on a daily basis,” Porter said, “In the past, the last three days is when we were overwhelmed with hundreds of contracts.”
Zelin likes the new Early Eagle Special.

“In the past, when you only had a week to submit your contract, if you forgot to turn it in before the deadline, you were on the bottom of the list and not guaranteed to live on campus,” Zelin said. “But with the Early Eagle Special, you have more time and are guaranteed housing.”

Junior Sarah Burton feels that overall the new changes are more efficient and fair but was never bothered with the housing selection process of the past.

“I didn’t have any problems with the old housing selection. I ended up alright,” Burton said.

With all these new changes to the housing selection process, Porter encourages students to not assume what is going on and to really pay attention to the new changes. Her goal is to have no misunderstandings and to be as fair as possible.

Gold encourages students to attend the housing social on Feb. 22, which will feature a show room of a typical Eagle Landing room, as well as floor plans for all the other buildings on-campus.

Gold is most excited about the student input and how students today have the chance to make their mark on these changes.

“It’s the best time to be a student, administrators are listening,” she said.

Comments

  1. I think if GPA becomes a factor in housing, some students will be discriminated against. Some students have learning disabilities that prevent them from doing as well in school, even when they work hard. I know the school is trying to reward students who work the hardest, but sometimes GPA isn’t the best reflection of that.

  2. Heather Greider

    A GPA doesn’t reflect a student’s work effort. So, if a student has a 3.0 and another student has a 3.5, that 3.0 student must be lazy or something.
    No, what if he/she is taking classes for Across the Curriculum requirements and there are subjects he/she struggles in? Can’t be great at everything.
    And, as mentioned by Lauren Orsini in the comment above, what about students with disabilities? Guess they don’t deserve their choice of housing.
    If I’m paying just as much money to be at this institution as any another student, then I should get just as much right to my choice of housing as he/she does.
    Keep it as it was before. And if you want to speed it up, have it take place on more days and get more help.

  3. As an alum from the Class of 09 I think some of these changes are way over due. Rewarding students for quickly completing their contracts, and moving to personal time slot system seem both to be great ideas.

    The move to reward students for having a higher GPA I’m not as sold on. Sure students that work harder should get better housing, but having a high GPA doesn’t equate to the level of effort, nor does it represent all the non-academic efforts of a student. Also GPA’s seem to have a correlation to a students major, with some majors having a higher average GPAs. This is casual empiricism but the possibility still exists that some majors will be rewarded with on average better housing then other majors. I don’t know if I approve of a system that creates an environmental incentive for selecting certain majors.

  4. Mark Placious

    I think GPA being a factor in housing selection is unfair due to GPA differences between majors. Science majors typically have lower GPA’s but that has nothing to do with the fact that they do not work hard.

  5. Jon Williams

    I think the comment by Lauren concerning disabled students is a good one. I don’t think they’ve really thought of that and it should be looked at by Res-Life.
    I might be biased because I’ve worked my butt off to keep a high GPA as a chemistry major, but I like this idea for Eagle Village. The reason I like this is because currently this school rewards those with very high GPA’s with…. doodley-squat.
    Taking other people’s considerations into account though, I think an even better idea (or compromise?) would be to turn the selection for Eagle Village into an application process based on GPA, extracurricular activity, and community service. I think that would help diffuse the science vs. non-science major fear somewhat while rewarding students who have achieved things outside of academics as well. UVA uses a similar system to choose which Seniors get to live on the Jefferson lawn.

  6. Kelsey

    Yikes. I have a friend who is the same year as me, who is taking a beginning language class, two english classes, and a biology class (for non science majors). I however, am taking organic chemistry, genetics, and ecology. Last semester I had a writing intensive cell biology. I worked probably 3 times harder than she did, but I still didn’t have a great GPA. I wish the housing system knew that. Still I think I support the idea anyway, because some people I know barely work a fraction as hard as I do, and their GPA definitely reflects that.

  7. Paul

    While I think these are all valid points against it, I still work really hard to make my GPA high and have been screwed over by the randomness of the lottery in the past so I’m glad they’re finally taking that into consideration.

  8. Stephanie Ospina

    I think that this is a very informative article, and I am pleased to know that GPA is now a factor of housing selection, because I think that it is now a more fair and productive process.

  9. Phil

    Students with documented disabilities are eligible for disability housing anyway, and thus are actually able to select housing before anyone else…so that might not be such a major concern.

    I don’t know what I think of a GPA-based lottery in general…but it’s good to see that students appear to be getting a voice.