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Harnwell College House, one of the high-rises on campus. Credit: Zihan Chen

Housing applications for the 2022-23 academic year opened last week and will be due on Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.

The application is open to all current students and allows them to specify their on-campus living preferences for the upcoming academic year, create housing groups, and select gender-inclusive housing options. 

Once the application closes, students will be able to choose their unit based on an assigned timeslot — between 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Feb. 15 to Mar. 3— which will be distributed by Residential Services based on a point system.

The point system will consider two things — a student's graduation year and the number of semesters they have lived on campus. Each member of a housing group will have their own time slot, which will allow groups to choose based on the most convenient one. 

Time slots will accommodate every student who wishes to live on campus next year — if a student misses theirs, they can make a selection up until the end of the selection phase.

However, there is no guarantee that housing groups will receive their first choice of housing accommodation. Assistant Director of Housing Occupancy Scott Hammell recommends that students “[have] a backup plan and then a backup plan for your backup plan." 

There are four different time periods, or "phases" in room selection, each of which provides different options to students — Program Communities, "Room Retention," "Return to House," and "Move to Any House." 

All students have the option to apply for program communities, which are environments that center around a common interest of the residents. This year, Residential Services is reintroducing the room retention process, which was suspended the last academic year due to COVID-19 affecting housing placements across campus. 

According to Hammell, room retention will allow students living in retainable spaces to select the same unit for next semester’s housing. If a student decides to retain their residence, they will be assigned a timeslot to select their room again. 

The "Return to House" and "Move to Any House" phases are further divided into two phases — "Fill a Unit" and "Fill a Bed."

"Fill a Unit" requires a housing group to fill each bed in a unit and occurs earlier in the housing selection period. Once that phase is done, the requirement to fill a unit is lifted and groups can select any vacancy on campus.

Students will be able to change their housing groups until they select a unit, in order to provide flexibility in case there are no available units that fit the entire group.

Juniors and seniors were also able to declare their intention to live on campus through the preferred housing application in October 2021. The application has since been capped at around 1,000 students, and those selected have a confirmed spot in campus housing. 

Despite the cap, Director of Residential Services Patrick Killilee is "confident that even the waitlisted students will get housing later on in the [preferred housing] process.” 

Killilee said that despite the possibility of students not receiving their top choice accommodation at the end of the housing process, Penn Residential Services is committed to housing every student who plans to live on campus next semester.

“We never guarantee anything in housing," Killilee said, “except that we will house you.”