Though it was announced in October, Penn’s new housing application system is now being put to the test by students who are using it for the first time.
While students who applied for residential programs — as well as those who applied to live in Stouffer, DuBois and Gregory college houses — already have their assignments for next year, the priority round for the in-house selection process kicks off Wednesday, Feb. 15.
In general, students have offered mixed reactions — from relief to confusion to displeasure — in response to the new system.
“I’ve been in a residential program since I was a freshman, and we’ve always had to write really long essays” to get accepted into the program, Wharton and Engineering junior Elisabeth Sum said. This year, however, “you only had one question on the application, [and] it was so easy to do.”
Under the new housing system — called My Home at Penn — students submit their housing applications in teams ranging in size from one to four people.
Using those applications, individual College House deans assign each group a point total. This total is then used to established a selection order for the housing lottery, explained Lenny Zeiger, associate director for Housing Assignments.
The implementation of My Home at Penn also marks the end of community living.
Some students said they do not see the need for a new system.
“I feel it’s unnecessary because you have to go in and create these teams,” College junior Amber Scott said. “They’re making a bigger deal of it than it needs to be.”
However, for College junior Robert Gard, using My Home at Penn over the past few weeks has been more convenient than past housing applications.
“It’s more streamlined and it’s somewhat more organized in the sense that it’s fully automated, up to a point,” he said.
For others, the new system has caused some confusion.
“The dates for priority room selection — when you log in at a specific time and choose your room — I was a little bit confused at that,” Wharton freshman Erica Charles said. “The house dean emailed us with instructions and I went to an info session. They tried to explain it, but I guess the details were left out of the instructions.”
In order to keep students updated throughout the selection process, Residential Services has also launched “My Room Selection preview” — an online tool through which students can receive real-time updates on what rooms are still available.
“It’s a tool to really empower students to be more involved in the process,” Zeiger said. “It allows them to do it from the comfort of their homes.”
Business Services spokesperson Barbara Lea-Kruger added that the University will continue to listen to student feedback as more people start to use My Home at Penn.
“I think we’ve been very sensitive to the fact that students don’t know what to anticipate,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of work up front and a lot of communication. But it’s new to us and you guys.”
“When this process is done we’re going to do our evaluation as well,” Zeiger added. “We’re under the assumption there’s always going to be room for improvement.”Comments powered by Disqus
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