Friday, April 5, 2013

First-Year Housing FAQs

Have questions about housing options and requirements for first-year students? Read our Q&A with intern, Kelly Crupi. Have another question? Post a comment below.
UNC's Department of Housing and Residential Education

As a first-year student, what are my options for living on campus?
Beginning in fall 2013, most first-year students will be assigned to live in one of the designated First Year Experience (FYE) Communities: Connor, Craige, Ehringhaus, Hinton James, Manning East, and Manning West. Alternatively, first-year students can choose to apply to live in one of the Living-Learning Communities (LLCs), which are spread across campus and are not necessarily located in FYE Communities.

What is the First Year Experience (FYE)?
The FYE program is a new initiative that will help incoming students immerse themselves into the Carolina culture on a social and academic level. The goal is to leverage campus resources intended to foster first-year student success and acclimation by bringing those resources to communities where a high number of first-year students live. Our staff of dedicated Resident Advisors is trained to provide students with opportunities for leadership, community service, cultural awareness, and continuous self-discovery. Through partnerships with various campus offices and resources such as Academic Advising and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, students will learn about Carolina through programs and events throughout the year. All FYE activities and programs are optional. 

What is a Living-Learning Community (LLC)?   
LLCs have a specific topic or area of focus, which gives members the chance to live with a small group of about 30 students who share similar interests or academic goals. There are seven LLCs available for first-year students, including Spanish House, Service & Leadership, Chinese House, Substance-Free, Sustainability, UNITAS, and Women Experiencing Learning & Leadership (WELL). First-year students are welcome, even encouraged, to apply for an LLC. Most LLCs have regular meetings, and many also have a required number of service hours or a class component. In general, members can expect to dedicate two to four hours per week to their LLC.

Can I participate in both the First Year Experience and a Living-Learning Community, or do I have to choose one?
Two of the LLCs are located within FYE communities (Service & Leadership and Spanish House), so those LLC residents will automatically be a part of both the FYE and their LLC. This could be considered the best of both worlds because residents can participate in programs for both the community at large and their LLC. Students are also welcome to apply for an LLC that is not located in an FYE community. But that’s not to say those students would miss out on the First Year Experience. In fact, LLCs typically house several first-year students, so residents would very likely meet other students who are new to Carolina and interested in getting connected to campus. Residents will also have the chance to meet sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the community who can be a great resource for getting to know the ins and outs of campus life.

How do I decide which is best for me?   
Only you can answer that question, based on what you’re looking to gain out of your housing experience. If you want to live in a community with a very large first-year student population and receive a general introduction to life at Carolina, then an FYE community is probably the way to go. You really have the freedom to take what you want from the FYE because you can attend as few or as many events as you would like! If you really want the chance to connect with a small, core group of students throughout the year, an LLC might be the right option for you. LLCs involve regular meetings and frequent programs which averages to about two to four hours of involvement per week.

Can I live on north campus?
First-year students can preference Connor and Alexander, which are both First Year Experience buildings located in the Connor Community. Also, some of the Living-Learning Communities are located on north campus, and first-year students are welcome to apply to those communities.

How do I apply?
For both the First Year Experience and a Living-Learning Community, you’ll need to submit a housing application at Applying to a LLC requires a second application that is also available at LLC applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and you'll receive your assignment as soon as you are accepted into the LLC. Spaces fill quickly, so apply early if you're interested in this option. If you're not applying to an LLC, your housing application must be completed by May 15 to be included in the first batch of housing assignment that go out in early June. Although you get to rank your building preferences, you'll receive your assignment through a random lottery system, so there is no advantage given to those who apply early.