Housing 102: A Guide to Room Selection

The home page of eRezLife, the platform students will use for room selection starting today. For those new to the process, the site contains instructions for roommate and housing selection (Photo by Bonnie Lord).

The Returning Student Housing Form opens today, and will remain open until March 25. A common question for students like Mikado junior Taylor Clark is, “How does room selection work this year?”

It’s no secret that “choosing where and who to live with on campus can be incredibly stressful,” as highlighted in “Housing 101: Deciding Where to Live Next Fall.” However, once those decisions are made, the next challenge is understanding and navigating the housing process itself.

Even for students who have been through the room selection process multiple times, this time around, there are changes to contend with.

Changes to the Room Selection Process

Housing and Operations Manager Andrew Mattson said these changes include the elimination of Intentional Learning Communities (ILCs), the introduction of more gender-inclusive housing options and the relocation of I-Space, the language-learning community, to Dean Hall.

Additionally, those planning to apply for suite-style living with a roommate must find two additional suitemates to apply with, rather than simply applying as a roommate pair.

“In Mitchell and Whitehouse, we won’t be able to do two-person application groups for just a half suite,” Mattson said. “That’s how it used to be before COVID.”

Before applying as a group, however, Mattson said each student must first fill out an individual form detailing lifestyle needs, habits and roommate preferences.

For those seeking connections with others who share similar passions or interests, themed housing is available. This housing option is described on Albion College’s website as bringing “students with similar interests and passions together around a common idea, identity or shared interest.”

Mattson added that Community Living collaborates with various academic and co-curricular departments and organizations across campus to foster and support these communities.

Changes to the procedure have been implemented to accommodate student transfers, changes in housing plans and approved accommodations, allowing students to adjust their preferences accordingly, Mattson said.

“Students may also choose to designate their profile as searchable or not, so that if they haven’t found a roommate, they can filter other people’s preferences,” Mattson added.

eRezLife, Lottery Numbers and Room Selection

In an effort to streamline the process further, Mattson said Community Living is transitioning from a selection night event to a system similar to class registration, with designated online time blocks.

“Through eRezLife, we can run reporting right out of the software,” Mattson said. “As students are applying, we have a better read on student differences. We can then adjust and announce changes.”

In an email update sent to all students on March 1 from Mattson, it was announced that the lottery process used to determine time slots for room selection will not be using an average of the group’s individual numbers like in years prior. Instead, the lowest number in the group will matter most.

For some students, like Clark, the process is unclear.

“All I knew was how to find my number, and it took my roommates to help me figure out how it even works,” Clark said. “The system is a little weird, compared to the earlier one.”

In the email sent on March 1, Mattson said that eRezLife is unable to use the average of a group’s lottery number to determine their time slot – instead, Mattson suggests the person with the lowest number in the group determine the meeting time.

“After reviewing several options, the best way to ensure that flexibility during selection is sustained for students and the system is to designate lottery selection time slots based on individual lottery numbers,” Mattson said in the email. “This means that the lowest person in your Roommate Group will also be the first person to access selection.”

The email also stipulates that after submitting the returning student housing form, students can form roommate groups by inviting and accepting invitations from other members of the group. The group must have an even number of students to apply.

In terms of the system, “lottery numbers are for all students we expect or understand to be returning. They start at 11, and then they go up to 1100 or 1200, depending on how many students we have here,” Mattson said.

Mattson added that lottery numbers don’t include 2024 spring semester credits.

Despite these changes, certain aspects of the process will remain familiar, including the meal selection process.

“In eRezLife, let’s say I have a time slot. It’s Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. I have my roommate group. All the forms I log in on are on behalf of my roommate group. I can choose what we want and see what other buildings are still available,” Mattson said. “From there, I can select my meal plan.”

For students unable to fill out the form when it comes out, there will be a meal plan change window available through the summer, extending until the tenth day of classes.

Requesting Housing Accommodations

When it comes to applying for housing accommodations, Director of Accessibility Services Elizabeth Rudolph said the process “really hasn’t changed.”

Petitioning for housing accommodations can include applying for a single room, an exemption from board, off-campus housing and more – depending on the student’s needs.

Rudolph recommends that students looking to petition for housing accommodations first register with the Office of Accessibility Services. According to Albion College’s website, the first step is to schedule a meeting with Rudolph. Albion College’s website also says that students with accommodations must renew their request every year they apply for housing.

Once a student has completed these steps, they need to petition for their accommodations. Rudolph said that in addition to petitioning, students should complete the housing process as normal, adding that applying earlier is best.

Mattson said via email on March 1 that this allows the Housing Petitions Committee to give applicants “enough notice to either continue through the Room Selection Process (RSP) or accept an accommodation or housing adjustment otherwise.”

Albion College’s website states: “To request exemptions or accommodations, students must provide adequate supporting documentation to Community Living and the Housing Petitions Committee for review.”

This documentation includes proof of medical necessity, something Rudolph recommends students think of ahead of time.

“Make sure that you are conveying the information to your doctor correctly so that they can make a decision,” Rudolph said.

Rudolph said that this information needs to convey the medical necessity of the accommodations, showing that the student’s well-being is at risk. Rudolph said she asks herself these questions:

“Does it meet the level of medical necessity? Are they going to continue to be well if they don’t get a single room? What is the medical need?”

On eRezLife, the housing accommodations form includes permitting Rudolph and the Assistant Dean for Community Living and Student Conduct, Clark Dawood to discuss the student’s needs with their healthcare provider. The provider will then have access to a portion of the form to be completed, signed and returned.

According to an email sent on March 7 from Mattson to all students, the initial due date for accommodation petitions is today. After review by the committee, the email states responses are anticipated on Friday.

Though the initial due date is today, Rudolph said Accessibility Services will accept accommodation petitions “all year long, as we have space.”

If a student needs to apply for housing accommodations after the deadline for the fall semester room selection process has closed, Rudolph recommends a visit to Community Living’s office.

“Just make sure that you’ve checked off all the boxes,” Rudolph said.

Students with questions about checking the boxes or completed units are encouraged to schedule appointments with the Registrar’s office and Elizabeth Rudolph. In addition to these resources, the Office of Community Living also opened an online Room Selection Process Guidebook and a Frequently Asked Questions page on March 7.

Bonnie Lord and Bella Bakeman also contributed reporting to this story.

About Killian Altayeb 24 Articles
Killian Altayeb is from Novi, Michigan and is a second-year student at Albion College. They are a Biochemistry Major with a journalistic interest in all things public health. Contact Killian via email at NA12@albion.edu.

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