Residents at UCA choose their own rooms in 2012
March 09, 2012
Previously it took two staff at UCA 120 hours each to painstakingly read applications and references before they allocated a room to a new student. This process also took place at the end of each year, when the village of 1500 beds, was in the middle of ‘move out’ mode – an investment of time and resources that wasn’t easily balanced. The aim of the game was to create a community with the right ‘mix’ of residents and alleviate the potential for social problems to arise.
After realising that a student’s perception of themselves, a descriptive reference from schools and the Residential Life Manager’s own judgement didn’t always equal a harmonious community, UCA made the switch to self selection.
“Live, learn, grow is all about transitioning students from high school to independence in a supported environment. The process of self selection aligns well with our philosophy. It encourages residents to think about who they are and who they want to live with,” says Sales & Marketing Manager, Lucy Allen-King.
Residents applying for 2012 were asked by email to create an online profile. The profile was created based on information about their study habits, drinking habits, sports & arts interests, acceptable noise, expected social interaction, smoking or non-smoking and single sex preferences.
Once this information was collated the system displayed their ‘best matches’. The resident could also browse for students outside of the systems suggestions. “Residents used the matching service and were able to message each other online, a little bit like internet dating, they could get to know one another,” says Kyle Morrison, Accommodation & Systems Coordinator for UCA, who oversaw the implementation of the new system.
At any stage the Accommodation Team at UCA could override any selections they deemed unsuitable to the community. This process took just four hours for one staff member. To ensure the Village was filled effectively and that students weren’t scattered, UCA controlled the release of all room spaces.
80% of students self selected their room at UCA for 2012. Those that didn’t were allocated by Kyle, which took a total of two hours. All residents were allocated for a total of six hours compared with 240 hours in 2011.
Another way Kyle has measured the success is by the number of room changes processed. In February 2011, UCA had made 56 room changes after their diligent selection processes. Kyle remarks, “we have seen a 75% decrease in the number of room changes compared with the same time last year.”
Room selection is here to stay at UCA.