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Registering From Abroad, Part 1: Housing

Andrew Cohen

When planning to go abroad for this semester, I was worried about lots of things.  What do I pack?  What will the other students be like?  WIll I actually have free time to travel around Europe?  How hard will my classes be?  Am I going to catch my flights?  But I can’t say that I thought ahead too much about registering for my senior year at Vandy.  It seemed too far off when I was planning, but as the semester went on here I realized that I would have to figure out how to get set up for housing and my courses from Rome.  To describe the registration process from abroad, I’ll break this post up into two; the first (this one) will focus on housing and the second will be about classes.

So the first step for registering for houses is staying on top of the ResEd (Residential Education) schedule to make sure you can apply to have housing, apply for off-campus housing, and find out your time for the lottery.  Luckily so much of the Vanderbilt process is online so you can do it from virtually anywhere.  The first thing that I did was apply for Off-Campus Authorization.  If you apply for this and receive authorization, you have the opportunity to live off-campus, but even if you receive authorization you can still decline that and go back to on-campus housing so applying for it just covers your bases.  A really cool thing about this is that if you receive financial aid for your house and board, that money can also be used towards finding a place off-campus in Nashville.  I quickly discovered that trying to find off-campus housing from abroad is pretty difficult, so I declined my authorization and on my ResEd “My Biz” I received a rather judgmental looking “smiley” face.

I then got together with 2 other friends that are also going to be seniors next year and we decided to get 3 singles next to each other in Carmichael Towers.  Right on West End, near the Admissions Office where I start my tours, not too far from classes, and did I mention right on West End?  We applied as a group that would ensure we could pick rooms next to each other and set ourselves up for a fun senior year.  Once that application was put in, I received a much happier smiley face.

But how do you pick your room if you’re not there to see the floorplans and select one?  Vanderbilt allows students to apply for a proxy (usually one of the people from your housing group) to select rooms for you at the Housing Selection event.  To set up a proxy is as easy as emailing and simply telling them the full name of the student you wish to serve as your proxy.  Didn’t apply with a group?  You can still nominate any other student to choose your room for you.  You can even check out the floorplans on the ResEd website to decide where you might want your room.  Here is part of the Carmichael Towers floorplan for example:

Once your room is selected, you receive a housing contract that has your name and room assignment on it.  When you come back to campus in the Fall, showing this contract to the student or staff member at the reception desk of your building earns you your room key for the year.  If you’re abroad like me, you can have a friend (or whoever is your proxy) mail you your contract or simply wait until you both move back to campus at the end of August.  Looking back at the housing process, I am very excited to spend my senior year on campus.  It might be a bit like getting stuck in the Vandy bubble, but I am at Vandy to be on campus and enjoy the student life.  I have my whole life ahead of me to live in a real apartment and worry about utilities and rent, for now I am glad to be staying on campus and I’m looking forward to an amazing senior year to cap off my Vanderbilt career right!

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