The application for University Housing’s resident advisors for the 2009-2010 school year went online yesterday, beginning the three-month process by which officials determine who will monitor quiet hours, plan hall bonding activities and rescue locked-out freshmen next year.

But because students can’t find out whether they get the position until well after most students sign their off-campus housing leases, some don’t fill them out at all.

After Housing staff evaluates the applications, due Nov. 3, students receive notice by Jan. 6 if they have been offered a position. Competition is stiff; in past years, there have been an average of 400 applicants vying for about 130 spots, said University Housing spokesman Peter Logan.

Although there are more applicants than positions available, some students put their RA dreams on hold, fearing they’ll be rejected and left in the off-campus housing dust as a result.

LSA sophomore Martha Stuit said she considered applying to become an RA, but decided against it. If she didn’t get the position, she said, she wouldn’t be able to live with her friends because they would have already made their housing plans for next year.

“The timeline of the application process was a big factor in my decision not to apply,” she said. “It made it difficult to figure out my housing, because now is the time when everyone is figuring out where to live next year.”

Current RAs said recalled the anxiety of putting plans on hold until they heard back from Housing staff. LSA senior Tony Nguyen, an RA in Alice Lloyd Residence Hall, said he knew he was taking a leap of faith when he applied for the position.

“I knew it was a big risk, and it worried me,” he said. “You have to know if you have a good chance of getting a position, because otherwise you might end up living with someone you don’t know or living far away from campus.”

Heather Livingston, chair of the student staff committee in Residential Education, which selects the resident advisers, said the high volume of applicants and the in-depth evaluation process make the later notification date necessary. She said she was unaware of any concerns over when applicants were informed of the decision.

“The process is pretty thorough, so it does take time,” Logan said. “We want the right students in these positions. These are very important positions for the community-building process.”

Many students said the January notification doesn’t matter as much as it might seem.

Engineering junior Tyler Simonds wasn’t offered a position as an RA when he applied last year, but he said his living situation worked out because he secured housing in Couzens Residence Hall, which also has a late application date.

LSA sophomore Patricia White, a prospective RA, said she was comfortable with the notification date because there are alternatives to off-campus housing available during the winter semester.

“If I didn’t get a position, I know I could apply for Northwood housing or a co-op, which you are able to apply for late in the year,” she said.

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