Pick Your Place on Campus

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A closer look into how “Pick Your Place” affects student housing

As the costs of living and property prices continue to increase around the country, colleges nationwide are feeling the effects. State schools are struggling to fit students into on-campus housing and max their capacities with more and more students left out each year. The price of off-campus housing, as well as the over-recruitment many schools now perpetuate, have culminated into what experts are calling a “national college housing crisis.” This year, Pacific rolled out new software to apply for housing – switching from “the housing lottery” to “pick your place.” The switch left many students with lingering concerns and questions about this year’s housing situation and the future of on-campus living at Pacific. I sat down with the associate director of campus living, Andra Dennis, to gain some clarity and dispel rumors.

     This year, Pacific has significantly more students choosing to remain on-campus, whether that be upperclassmen or those who are typically exempt from the on-campus housing requirement. Dennis cited a rise in off-campus housing costs as one of a few factors in this shift, explaining, “Right now we are at a point where we can accommodate students who are required to live on, as well as students who are not required to live on…We are having issues nationwide with the rising prices of housing, so we have been really fortunate to be able to limit how much our costs increase each year. However, that does make us a more viable option for many students than finding a place off campus.”

      This phenomenon has dominoed down to affect underclassmen – aka those who have no choice but to remain on campus. On April 2, just days into the housing application cycle, Residence Life sent an email updating students on the housing situation, stating: “Apartments and traditional singles are almost full for next year. At this point, we want your group to be prepared to select some other room types, including suites.” Dennis explained that the wave of older students – with higher credit standings – picking their dorm situations before underclassmen left many scrambling to find roommate groups or forcing them to split off into pairs for another year of “freshman” housing. Housing added on-campus houses in an attempt to offset the lack of apartments for underclassmen. Dennis cited these as part of the University’s “commitment to continue housing as many students as possible.”

     Another impactful change this year was the addition of “roommate groups.” Roommate groups were designed so groups of four could take priority in finding apartments, which housing claims sets students up for more successful living conditions. This decision was controversial, as students without a group felt they had no opportunity to find single rooms with the amenities of an apartment. Dennis explained the concept wasn’t new this year – it was just more advertised and slightly expanded. “We were pretty careful to make sure we had a percentage of rooms set aside as ‘group must fill’ – meaning the roommate group must be the same size as the amount of beds in the unit.” She went on to state the amount of these rooms set aside this year felt “pretty consistent with the past,” and the increase was minimal from housing’s perspective. 

   As for the future of housing at Pacific, the housing department remains hopeful that on-campus options will remain available. “We really like being able to provide housing for students who are not required to live on, because we think living on campus is the best option for every student,” Dennis states. “We have seen, based on data and experience, that students do better academically and stay better connected with their peers if they’re living on campus.”

     For those who did not complete their housing applications and would like to live on-campus in the coming year, there are still ways to secure a spot. Students required to live on-campus are given priority in this case, with housing finding space and placing students at their discretion. Students will be paired based on preferences given in their eRezlife accounts, with efforts to place compatible students in the same rooms. Dennis also encouraged students to reach out with any lingering questions or concerns.


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