Friday, the board of trustees decided that sophomores will be required to live on campus.I wish I could explain what logic is behind this, but I really can’t imagine why the trustees would even consider this. Certainly this isn’t another case of the peer universities doing this, because this is one of the first times I’ve heard of this being required.
I understand the desire to have freshmen remain on campus. If the university has the facilities, then it’s a great way to make sure students get involved during their first year in college. But sophomores?
By the second year, most students have already found their niches and have determined exactly how involved they’re going to be on campus. Forcing them to live on campus isn’t going to change anything. It’s unnecessary.
Aside from that, if a student enters late or doesn’t meet the hour requirements, he or she could be a sophomore at age 21. Even 20 is too old to still have people telling you what to do. By this time, students should be getting out on their own and trying to be independent. If students prefer not to mess with cars and to have meals ready for them at all hours of the day (which I’m a huge proponent of), then that’s their decisions. Likewise, if students decide they’re ready to live on their own, possibly try having jobs and cooking for themselves, they should also have that opportunity. It’s not for the university to decide.
I was thrilled when I heard of the additions to the main campus, even if they won’t be finished until I graduate. I was most looking forward to the new dorms. I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’m a huge fan of dorm life. Perhaps because I’ve never lived in an apartment or house, or maybe because I lived at home and commuted all last year, but I’ll probably stay in the dorms until I’m kicked out.
Since I did live off campus last year, it proved extremely difficult to get on-campus housing this semester. I wasn’t given confirmation until only a few weeks before school started, and I was unable to room with a friend who had lived on campus the previous year and got my last selection in dorms. The addition of so many new dorms means that others won’t have to go through the same ordeal. With these additional dorms, even more students will be able to live on campus.
Or at least that was my thought.
With the new requirement of having to remain in the dorms an additional year, all that open, available housing is gone once again. Instead of relieving the pressure of housing, these new requirements will only make it worse. And I’m still searching for a benefit.
For many, the choice to live on campus isn’t just inconvenient – it’s a financial strain. It’s no secret that TCU dorms average more than many of those at public schools. Granted, some might not be so nice, but I’d be willing to move into a dorm below the level of Waits if it meant a significant reduction in cost.
Even the cheapest are more than $2,000, and four semesters of that means an excess of $8,000. Throw in an additional $1,200 a semester for the meal plan, and I suddenly understand why the trustees would want to make this mandatory. If anything, I imagine there will be more local students preferring to commute from their homes, than spending more time on campus. With apartments and houses, you decide where you live and, therefore, what you pay, who you live with, what amount to spend on groceries, etc. A student can pay as little as he or she wants to live off campus. And when you’re paying TCU tuition, that’s a huge perk.
The decision has already been finalized, but it’s never too late to reconsider. Students should be able to decide whether they want to live on campus for their second year. This way simply creates problems and for a benefit I don’t see.
Valerie Cooper is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Azle. Her column appears every Wednesday.