Residential Life adopts neighborhoods for new housing application

In an attempt to help foster a new sense of community as well as simplify the overall process, Residential Life has worked with MU’s admissions office to develop a new housing application.

Residential Life has implemented new changes to housing applications this year, specifically eliminating the Residents’ Online Access to Rooms, the university’s online system for selecting residence halls.

ROAR was used by students who wanted to apply to be part of the Honors dorm or to be part of a specific Freshman Interest Group or Thematic Learning Community, which students choose based on major and academic interests.

Last fall, Residential Life worked with the MU admissions office to develop a new, simplified housing process, Liz McCune, MU News Bureau associate director, said.

This year, incoming students used the housing application to select to live in a preferred “neighborhoods” as opposed to specific residence halls. Incoming students complete a housing preference form on which they are able to preference a neighborhood. For example, a student may select “College Crossing” as their top preference, which encompasses eight different residence halls.

McCune said each of the four neighborhoods has a different “feel based on location and the students who call it home.” Truman Central, for example, includes dorms near the MU Student Center and houses MU’s Reserve Officers' Training Corps students and returning students, while College Crossing is located near College Avenue and is advertised as “MU’s most affordable housing.” College Crossing also includes students from science, technology, engineering and math as well as the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and journalism FIGs and TLCs.

The other neighborhoods include “Southwest Village,” located near Memorial Stadium, and the “Honors College,” which will solely include Mark Twain Residence Hall and be exclusively available to students enrolled in the Honors College.

McCune said that MU’s honors learning community and related FIGs have been in Mark Twain for the past couple years and “honors students have developed a strong sense of community in this hall.”

The reason behind these changes is that MU wants to help foster a sense of community for students who live on campus, McCune said.

“Residential Life is working to build a stronger community-driven culture, where hall staff are partners in students’ success,” she said. “Neighborhoods are new to Mizzou, but not to higher education.”

The University of Wisconsin—Madison uses a similar housing process that involves neighborhoods. The university offers 19 residence halls spread across two neighborhoods, according to their website.

Another reason behind the transition was that the university wanted to simplify the housing application process, McCune said.

“Feedback from students and families indicated that ROAR was a stressful and often disappointing process,” she said.

In addition, in years past, students more often selected a FIG or learning community solely because of housing locations and room amenities instead of academic interest and success, McCune said.

She also said that the Residential Life's main office used to have to be staffed until 11 p.m. every night to field all the emails and calls from confused parents and incoming students. This year, the office only sees an increase of staffing during business hours for two days.

Incoming freshman Lily Price said that in her application and housing preferences, cost was a deciding factor. Since Price is coming to MU as an out-of-state student, she said she researched on MU’s website which dorms were cheaper.

She originally applied to Dogwood, located in the Truman Central neighborhood, but was assigned to Schurz Hall, which was recently reopened and is located in College Crossing.

She said that she had written on her application that she preferred a community style living dorm, which both Schurz and Dogwood offer.

“[The housing application] was all pretty simple and straightforward,” Price said. “I was able to use the [MU Residential Life] website and fill it out quickly."

Edited by Morgan Smith |

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