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Is there a better way to select housing?

By Alexandra Ayers
On May 1, 2015

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   The unique priority points system Marist College uses for housing affects students both positively and negatively. While some students view the system as fair and just, others believe it gives particular students an unfair advantage at priority housing.

    Students spend their semesters trying best not to get written up, get good grades and join a number of activities in order to keep their priority points up for their housing selection. When priority points are released, the divide begins between friend groups. Many do not want their priority point averages to be brought down by weaker links, so students with the higher averages band together to get the coveted housing.

    While this system may seem fair in theory, with it working out that the more involved students and those with high GPAs get their first choice in housing, it may leave room for discrimination towards students who truly do their best in school whether or not that may be a 4.0.

     There is also an issue of gender. With there being a higher population of females to males at Marist, boys are more inclined to get their preferred housing due to less competition.

    Should Marist consider using a lottery system as most colleges and universities do? The lottery system eliminates awkward encounters with friends which may lead to some getting undesirable housing due to their priority points. Students would have their housing groups randomly assigned numbers determining when they would pick housing. This technique is more arbitrary as opposed to the priority point system. Students would not be held to standards of grades, discipline or involvement, which may also hinder the Marist community as a whole.

    Another technique used by some colleges is choosing housing by credit. While Marist has designated housing for particular grades, it may be more to the advantage of the upperclassman to have a system that utilizes credits. At Marist, only freshman and sophomores are guaranteed on campus housing. After that there is a cut off each year of how many priority points are required for juniors and seniors to remain on campus. If Marist decided housing by credit hours, more juniors and seniors may be able to stay on campus by being able to choose from a wider variety of housing options. 

    Whether or not it is agreeable that the priority point system at Marist is fair, it seems to be working to some degree. Further, many students have chosen to move off campus for their junior and senior year, which has alleviated some of the pressure of students who need housing. But, it must be considered that moving off campus is not an option for all students. Hopefully in the next couple years, the plans to build more housing for underclassman will change the stress of housing day by opening up more spots and improving the overall quality of housing. 


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