|The inflexible system of the undergraduate dorm application process frustrated many students. Photo by Choi Kyu-min.
The 2018 dorm application procedure has caused huge confusion among students due to several changes in the registration process. There were three application periods for the undergraduates and those who failed to get in by the last round received random waiting list numbers. As this year marked the most students not gaining a dorm room (estimated at over a thousand students), students are criticizing the dorm administration office for its inflexible system and its lack of communication.
Until last year, undergraduate students who took nine credits or more were eligible to apply, but that minimum standard changed to 10 credits this year. Thus, students who registered nine credits or lower to pay half-tuition are not even given a chance to apply for the dorm. So, for students with financial difficulties, taking the semester might be nearly an impossible task. “It doesn’t make sense that the dorm won’t accept students who take fewer than 10 credits,” said Kim, a major in Life Sciences.
“It’s like they are saying that you should pay the whole tuition or you don’t get to live in the dorm. There are students who can not afford that much but still want to learn something from this university.”
Also, when applying, students had to decide whether they were going to stay at the dorm during summer and winter vacations. Students who change their decision cannot apply for the dorm the next year. For example, if a student did not include summer vacation in her residence period but decides to stay for some reason, the student loses the opportunity to apply next year.
Students were deeply frustrated because they could not be entirely sure about their plans a year ahead. A comment on Everytime, an online community platform, sarcastically said, ‘Hey Dorm, do you have everything planned out this whole entire year?’
With numerous complaints directed to the office, the dorm administrative eased the rule saying that they plan to take applications separately for the vacation period later on.
One of the biggest issues was that the dorm was accepting some freshmen living in Seoul. The top 50 percent of freshmen who entered Ewha based on their college entrance exam were guaranteed accommodation, even for Seoul residents. Originally, students living in Seoul were not allowed to apply for the dorm, but due to this new policy, more students living outside Seoul had lost their opportunities to get in. Some pointed that it makes no sense to accommodate Seoul residents, while students from the islands Jeju or Ulleung cannot make it. Students further argued that dorms are supposed to help students who have difficulties commuting to school, not to earn more money or gain profit by it.
For other universities, such as Konkuk University, a grading system takes the distance between home to school into consideration. Measuring distance and grade (GPA), the dorm prioritizes students with the highest total. So, if a student living near Seoul wants to live in the dorm, a higher GPA is required than for those living far from school. “Some people might say that including grades when assigning dorm rooms is a little cruel, but I think it is quite a reasonable method,” said a student from Konkuk University. “I had a friend who lived in Gyeonggi-do, which makes getting into the dorm hard, but he got in with his high GPA. So, living at the dorm is, in some way, a reward for all the hard work he has done. I think just randomly choosing students for the dorm is inflexible and unfair for most students.”
Currently, the dorm is announcing students from the waiting list. Some students have already got in early, but some must still wait even after the start of the semester. There were also other sorts of problems during this process, such as suddenly announcing a new way (first-comefirst-served) to apply for the dorm on Feb. 19 and skipping waiting numbers. As students registered for different rooms, for example a double room for the entire year or a double room for only spring and fall semester, some students had to wait for their condition-matching rooms to be available even though students with later waiting numbers already got in. “We were surprised at how many students have applied this year as it was the highest competition rate,” the dorm administration office said. “We are trying hard to accept more students as we know a lot of students have failed to get in. For students who didn’t make it, we hope they will apply when we hold applications for the upcoming fall semester.”