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What you need to know about Augustana housing

(Editor's note: Hannah Bohn, a junior majoring in French and anthropology, explains to first-year students how housing works at Augie.)

By Hannah Bohn

As the summer rapidly approaches, and incoming first-years become more excited for college to begin, housing seems to be on everyone's minds. To help ease your minds about the housing procedure, here are some frequently asked questions AS WELL AS their answers.

How does the housing process work?

When you submit your tuition deposit, you will receive a packet that explains what you need to do before you arrive at Augustana in August. This packet should arrive sometime in late April or early May and will include instructions about how to access the online housing questionnaire. Complete this questionnaire thoroughly and thoughtfully by June 1 so that our Office of Residential Life can match you with the best roommate.

This being said, make sure YOU, not your parents, fill out the form. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Once you submit the housing questionnaire, the Office of Residential Life spends the summer hand-matching roommates. Each questionnaire is looked over by a real person who is going to do their best to make a good match.

How successful is the roommate selection process

The Office of Residential Life is over 99% successful at matching roommates. While most students approve of their roommate assignment, the Office of Res Life accommodates changes that occur mutually at the beginning of the year. These changes occur if students mutually agree to switch rooms without any conflict. The success rate given does not include such accommodations. Over the course of a year, the Office of Res Life mediates maybe one roommate switch per year for incoming first-years.

However, by and large, the Office of Res Life successfully matches compatible roommates. Since the office matches roommates based on compatibility, you may or may not be friends with each other. The goal of the roommate-matching process is to create a comfortable living environment between compatible roommates. If you do end up becoming friends, that's just an added bonus.

Here is what some students have said about their roommate assignments:

• Alicia Oken, a junior political science and multimedia journalism mass communications major said: "My roommate and I were both supposed to be paired with someone from our high schools but then they switched us so we could room with someone new. Somehow, even without the whole form thing, we ended up being a perfect match."

• Cody Hootman, a sophomore: "My roommate and I have been close since Day 1 when we first met, and we live together this year again. We will probably live with each other through senior year, not sure who else I'd rather live with."

• Molly Burke, a freshman studying biology, pre-med and Spanish: "My roommate and I were completely random and she is the best friend I have here at Augustana."

When and how will I find out about my housing?

Because of their hard work in Res Life, you will receive your housing information in mid- to late July. This information will arrive via the email that the office has on file for you. The email will include your housing and roommate assignment as well as contact information for your roommate so that you can become acquainted before August.

Can I choose my own roommate?

If you and another student wish to room together, then you both must request one another by name on the housing preference form. If the request is not mutual, then you will not be paired. In the past few years, many students have met their roommates via the Facebook page. If you choose to live with a student you have met over Facebook, this is perfectly fine, just make sure to mutually indicate that you would like to room together.

What are some questions on the housing preference questionnaire?

The questionnaire presents questions that concern living habits. It asks you to select any/all activities you plan to participate in as well as the ways in which you spend your leisure time. It asks you to evaluate your own tidiness, political mindset, and other values. Using these bases, the Office of Residential life will try to match roommates based on compatibility.

Can I choose which residence hall I want to live in?

While first-years live in every residence hall, both Erickson and Westerlin have limited availability for first-years. Erickson and Westerlin are largely sophomore living areas, and very few first-years will be able to live in them. Rooms in Erickson are reserved for those with a medical need for air-conditioning, and the housing preference form will ask if you are in need of such a room. As rooms in these residence halls are limited, most first years will live in Seminary, Andreen or Swanson.

On the housing preference form, you will be able to indicate a strong preference for the residence hall you wish to live in, but keep in mind that availability in Westerlin and Erickson is limited. For more information regarding each residence hall, visit the housing section under Student Life on the Augustana College homepage.

How does housing work for those who will be sophomores and juniors?

In late March, students will randomly be assigned a lottery number. In April, there will be several housing days during which students will wait in Westerlin until their number is called to select their housing. Roommates are chosen by students themselves for sophomore and junior year. Lottery numbers are grouped by year and rising juniors select housing before rising sophomores.