Waitlisted Students Left Confused and Frustrated


Emily Loughridge

Joe Mitchell scratches his head in confusion while carrying a box of his things around the Lawson apartments.

Paul Tointigh, Managing Editor

USAO students who are returning to campus housing in the fall find themselves in an uncertain situation. Many who applied for housing are on the waitlist, and are now awaiting further confirmation for a place to lay their head for the fall trimester.

The waitlist, according to Bobbie Shores, director of Student Life and Housing, begins when the amount of housing applications meets or exceeds the beds that are available on campus.

Students placed on the waitlist said they feel a number of emotions, from confusion to frustration.

One such student is Abbee Mann, a freshman Theater Arts major. Mann will be returning in the fall as a sophomore, and is required to stay on campus due to her major.

“Upperclassmen are basically getting screwed over because freshmen have priority of housing but not everyone can commute,” Mann said. “I live two-and-a-half hours away. That’s not a possibility for me.”

USAO Housing said they are coming up with ideas to help alleviate those who are on the waitlist.

“We have brought back an option that we call ‘twinning’,” Shores said. “This option should help students who are looking for less expensive on-campus housing.”

“Twinning” will see select Lawson Apartments, which are typically house four students, begin to house six people across the four bedrooms. This means that the two larger rooms, bedrooms #1 and #4, will have twin-sized beds placed within instead of the traditional full-sized bed. Those who live in this type of room will receive reduced prices for their housing.

Though this option has become available, students who live further away from campus are still biting their nails. Not being able to get into housing can force these students to seek alternatives to on-campus housing; alternatives that may be expensive or impractical for them.

“Commuting for me is not an option, as I live two hours away,” said Phoebe Smith, a junior Elementary Education major. Smith applied to live in Robertson Hall for the fall trimester, and still ended up on the waitlist.

If the worst-case scenario happens, those not placed in housing will be required to seek other methods of housing, or will be forced to commute.

“Worst case scenario I would have to transfer or go completely online, which again for a theater major, going online is not plausible for me,” said Mann.

Smith echoes Mann’s sentiment and continued to say that she could just sleep on other people’s couches, but again, that is unrealistic.

“Students can also choose to look for housing off campus and Housing will continue to explore options for additional placements,” Shores said, in regard to those who are not placed in on-campus housing.

Another source of frustration from students is the roommate groups that many filled out. The roommate groups allowed students to group themselves together, with their preferred roommates. Once the housing lottery opened, one roommate could then place their entire group into one apartment. The frustration arose whenever the waitlisted students were removed by USAO Housing from their roommates groups.

Mann and Smith are both students who were a part of roommate groups and found themselves outed from their desired group and placed onto the waitlist.

“To accommodate those who did submit their applications before beds were full, we chose to place those students and remove individuals from roommate groups whose applications were submitted later,” Shores said. “This is a very small percentage of students, and some will be placed back based on a preliminary roster.”

According to Shores, other campuses have had students who had to sleep in their cars or be placed into lobbies around the campus because there was no spot for these students. Shores assures USAO that housing is working so that students do not find themselves in the same situation.

“We are working to get everyone who has turned in a completed application to this point placed in on-campus housing,” Shores said. “We know this can be stressful, so we are working diligently to place people as beds become available.”


Paul Tointigh is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.