Students rarely have much control over their freshman housing. Usually you’re at the mercy of a roommate chosen by a computer and the best you can hope for is a working elevator and reasonable Resident Advisor. By the end of your first semester, you should have a good understanding of the lay of the land.
You know where the best food (and the worst food) is served, which building has the best bathrooms, where the parties are, where people actually study and all of the other important factors in on-campus housing.
So, when it comes time to bid for housing, are you a housing ninja— ready to stealthily get the best possible location— or will you just sit back, look at funny pics online and take what you’re given?
Don’t Forget Your AP Credit
If you, like so many high school students, took several AP classes and exams, you might have a leg up on the competition. Many colleges and universities determine housing eligibility and placement priority by total number of credits on your transcript. So, though those AP classes might not help you graduate any faster, they might help you score better housing.
Research, Research, Research
Start well before the rush for roommates and housing bids begins. What kinds of housing are available? How limited are they? What realistically could you try for?
Contact the housing office, preferably during their quiet season, and find out all the nitty-gritty details on how housing is assigned. You might only get upgraded housing if your entire group of potential roommates have the same number of academic credits (or some other criteria).
Make Some Tough Decisions
Choosing roommates is a tough and important task. Would you rather stick with a specific group of friends, regardless of where you end up living? Or, would you prioritize location over people? Your answer will make a big difference in how you choose to bid for housing.
If you’ve started figuring this all out early enough, you can be armed with answers. If, for example, you’re looking for upperclassmen to live with, you can start making your case early and seeking out groups in need of one more person. Since you’ll understand the housing system, you can be an advocate and advisor, making you an indispensable part of the future roommate package.
Don’t Forget the Deadlines
All your research and preparation will be for naught if you don’t follow through. Remember to get any paperwork in on time, preferably early. Good luck out there!
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