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Life was “over” last February when Housing Services put you on the waiting list for community living. Now summer’s drawing to a close and you still don’t have a roof to call your own.

Even if thoughts of transferring to another university or dropping out altogether seem like the only options, don’t give up. With some creativity and flexibility, there are plenty of solutions to this house-tastrophe.

First things first. Open your eyes. Many students each fall make last-minute decisions to study abroad or take a leave of absence, according to Penn Abroad Director Barbara Gorka. Others still looking for roommates have run into bad luck just like you.

Check out Craigslist, e-mail the listservs of your student organizations and read signs on bulletin boards and bathroom stall doors. Opportunities surround you. Before you know it, you’ll have the upper hand — convincing tenants to give you lower prices based on other findings.

If these do-it-yourself search tactics aren’t successful, look to the professionals: University City Associates, University City Housing, University Enterprises and Campus Apartments (among others). Ask them about openings in apartment complexes, and then schedule tours with leasing agents. Pay attention to things you like and don’t like about each place. Take notes and even pictures if you want to compare the options later.

If you’re set on living with several of your friends instead of subletting a room, look west of 42nd Street. Housing options a bit further from the heart of campus may seem daunting if your classes are in Fisher-Bennett Hall and David Rittenhouse Laboratory, but they are plentiful.

You might need to buy a bike in that case, but many students enjoy escaping Penn life to explore West Philadelphia culture. If your parents object for safety reasons, tell them that Penn security guards will walk you home at night as far as 50th Street.

The bottom line: there are choices. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a great one. Chances are, you'll probably even end up paying less for a place. A margin of negotiation exists in subletting that does not exist in renting, according to the Office of Off-Campus Living.

And if worse comes to worst, the basement of Van Pelt is open 24 hours Monday through Thursday and heated all winter long.

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