Housing hunt: May the odds be in your favor

As Feburary inches toward March, there is something in the back of most students at the University of San Diego’s minds: finding housing. Although it seems like it may be too soon to even be thinking about securing a place to live, whether on or off campus, in reality, if those who haven’t started looking don’t think about housing soon, they might have a hard time locking down a place.

The university, which mandates students live on campus their first two years, has already released the housing applications for next year, which closes on Feb. 28.

At the end of March, students who have applied for on-campus housing will be notified of their room selection date and asked to confirm their roommate selections. Then, from April 3 to 10, students can select their housing. This selection process is determined by a lottery, which randomly assigns students to a room selection time period.

Because of the schedule of this year’s on-campus housing selection, Residential Life urged students to consider housing sooner rather than later.

“Students should plan their living arrangements as soon as possible,” a representative from Residential Life said.

Brandon McCreary, Assistant Director of Administration, noted that while typically all students looking to live on campus can secure housing, the process  has become more competitive.

“We have certainly been able to place all undergraduate students that have applied by the Feb. 28 deadline since the start of the second year live on requirement, and often, even when students apply late (in the early summer) we are able to find them a place somewhere on campus,” McCreary said. “Housing has certainly become much more competitive since the requirement though, and because of that, there is the concern that we will not be able to find housing for all of our undergraduate students that are interested, especially when they apply after the February deadline.”

Students looking to move off-campus can expect to plan even further in advance to secure housing.

Sophomore Kayla McNamara noted that it might be too early to nail down the details. However, she has considered her housing options briefly.

“I have talked to my mom about my housing options, but I don’t have anything set now,” McNamara said. “I am thinking about living in Carmel [Pacific Ridge Apartments], but I don’t know who I want to live with yet. It is still pretty soon [to] start thinking about it.”

While the timeline for those looking to live closer to campus is a little more lenient, students hoping to secure a house in highly-coveted Mission Beach can expect to start looking very soon.

Junior Kate Newton has already begun the search to find the perfect beach house.

“It’s very competitive,” Newton said. “My roommates were already looking at places in January. Even last semester, when I was at a senior’s house, I was asking what the price was, how they liked living at the house, etc. Finding a place is definitely a priority.”

The housing search can become especially complicated for students planning to study abroad in the Fall but hoping to lock down housing for the Spring before they leave. Students hoping to live off-campus have to work out a deal with the landlord or find another student, perhaps one that is studying abroad in Spring, to trade places with.

Once the perfect house is secured, sometimes it’s easier just to stay in the same place the next year.

Senior Maddy Platt found a house at the beach when she came back from abroad. She and her roommates decided to stay in the same house the next year to avoid going through the housing search again.

“It’s so much work to find the right house,” Platt said. “Although we probably could have found a house we liked better than the one we were in, the process is so daunting we didn’t want to go through it again, so we just decided to stay put.”

For students that have yet to consider housing, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about where you might want to live or who you want to live with. After all, the early bird gets the worm, but all the late bird ever gets is overpriced rent or a terrible landlord.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor