Over 500 students applied this year to live in New College House for the upcoming school year. Yet over 200 learned they had been rejected as a result of high demand and the need to reserve spots for incoming freshmen.
NCH House Dean Trina Sokoloski said the demand for rooms was so high that they were forced to reject more than half the students that applied through the lottery system — only 243 of the applicants were offered a bed. One hundred beds are reserved for incoming freshmen.
NCH opened for its first freshmen residents in 2016 and is now one of the University's four-year undergraduate dorms. It was also the only four-year house that filled up so quickly. Traditionally, each of the four-year houses reserves 30 percent of beds for incoming freshmen, Sokoloski said.
"It's our newest building. The facilities, the amenities — they're all private bedrooms," said Associate Director for Housing Assignments Lenny Zeiger, about the popularity of NCH. Zeiger also added that NCH is the only four-year house to have an in-house dining hall, which may have been a factor valued by students. It is also the only house with units of over four bedrooms.
“Since [the incoming class's] acceptance happens in the spring, and then their assignment process happens in the summer before they come to campus, they essentially are assigned to housing after the upperclassmen, and since we are committed to being four-year houses, we work with housing assignment and residential services and business services to make sure we have rooms available for freshmen to be placed in those houses,” Sokoloski said.
But many of the applicants rejected were those already living in NCH this past year. Several of these applicants expressed frustration since they expected to be able to live there for all four years, as NCH is intended to be a four-year house. Some said they felt as though freshmen should not live in NCH.
Engineering freshman Oliver Ferry applied for a six person room in NCH, but his group was not accepted. He said NCH was better suited for upperclassmen than freshmen and did not think spots ought to be reserved for freshmen.
“As a freshman I’d rather be in the Quad or Hill because that’s where a lot of other freshmen are. It’s more social,” Ferry said. “I’m not so sure how the social aspect in NCH is for freshmen.”
Since NCH is the only four-year building that has units with more than four bedrooms, the group has had to split up. Some members are heading to The Radian next year, while another is trying to secure an apartment in one of the high rises.
Sokoloski noted that NCH offers some freshmen-specific programming and hopes to plan more in the coming semester.
Some rejected students remained hopeful that they would be able to apply to NCH through the inter-house process, only to find that NCH was completely filled.
“I am planning to apply for the other four-year houses during the inter-house process,” College freshman Emily Yao said. “Originally, I had planned on applying for NCH again during the inter-house process, but I learned a few days ago that NCH is completely full already.”
Another component of the NCH application process involves “priority points.” Every student who planned to apply to NCH was given a lottery number, which could be lowered based on the number of points, offering a better shot at acceptance.
Sokoloski explained that points were awarded for a variety of reasons, such as event participation, employment in the office, and one’s ability to be a “good community member” or neighbor.
Despite the value of one’s priority points, an NCH resident’s lottery number could mean absolutely nothing if he or she plans to room with non-NCH friends.
"For a group applying to live together, the lowest number in the group determines the order. If the majority of students in a group were NCH residents, the lowest number of the NCH resident was the number for the group," Sokoloski noted in an email. "If the majority of a group was comprised of students from other houses, the lowest number among those students was the number for the group."
“We want to be able to establish and maintain and build a strong community year to year with consistency year to year, so one of the ways we do that in our room selection process for New College House is with our priority points,” Sokoloski said.
Zeiger noted that the announcement of New College House West, with its construction worth $163 million, will follow a similar model as NCH and will allow even more students will have the ability to live on campus.
“New College House is clearly sending us a message that students like a new building with that kind of room type, so it’s gonna model some similarities," Zeiger said.