Hello Friendly Gonzaga Parents,
I want to take some time to write about housing sign-ups and how this process impacts your student while at this wonderful place we call Gonzaga University. First, I want to compliment your student on a great college choice. As a current MBA student and employee at Gonzaga, I get to see first-hand all of the wonderful things to do, subjects to learn, and people to interact with here at GU. With that, there are several processes to go through. They include: applying to Gonzaga, securing financial aid and filling out a housing application (and maybe a Living-Learning Community application, as 26% of incoming students applied for LLCs). Your student has a decent amount to do, plus finish up high school, so I can see why it would seem helpful to fill out a housing application for them. However, sometimes the best intentions lead us to a place that we didn’t intend to be.
We have found that our students are the most successful and happiest when they fill out their own application for housing. Many times, there are incorrect assumptions or students are even embarrassed to tell parents that they want to stay up later or have things a bit noisier in their residence hall room, than they did at home. I know that when I first went to college, I did not plan on being at school at 7 am like I did in high school. My body functions better as a night owl – or at least it did when I was in college – and I wanted my class schedule and roommate preference to reflect that. I did not want to be with a roommate who was lights out at 9 pm. Alternatively, there may be students who are better at functioning early, so they may want to set their preferences that way. Either way, it’s best for a student to fill out their application themselves. They know how they want to function and we want to set them up with a roommate who mimics their schedule and noise, so there are higher rates of compatibility. Each student knows themselves best, so it’s beneficial to trust those preferences.
Taking this initiative on their own, is a life skill that students need to learn in college. It’s important for students to make decisions for themselves, for a few reasons. First, it creates buy-in for students in their living situation. They are the ones that have made the choice on the type of roommate they would like to room with, so there is more incentive for them to work it out with that person. Second, it allows students to figure out what type of person they are, how they are changing, what sort of personal dissonance there may be, and how to make adjustments for next time.
In the end, college is about students creating their own experiences and this is one of the first steps toward achieving that goal. A helpful tip in assisting your student identify his or her preferences would be to have a talk about it beforehand. There is no harm in talking with your student about his or her vision for the first year of college and overall ideas for their college career. Engage your student to share those desires, so decisions are made that align with what is best for the student. If your student has questions about the process and you don’t feel equipped to answer them, please feel free to have your student (again, self-advocacy for the student!) call our friendly folks in the Housing and Residence Life Office for advice at (509) 313-4103.
Our goal is to facilitate an amazing experience for your student, but we also want to have your student learn some skills along the way. Once your student graduates in a few short years, we want him or her to be familiar and comfortable talking with landlords or other individuals regarding their living needs.
We are so excited to have students back in the fall and I hope that you are having a wonderful summer!
Drew Satter, M. Ed. (and almost MBA)