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Hundreds of incoming students placed on residence waitlist as Queen’s University returns to in-person instruction

Last Updated on June 28, 2021 by YGK News Staff

Queen’s University recently released residence decisions for the upcoming school year, offering spots to 4,140 students using a lottery system and waitlisting at least 400 others.

As written in the University’s 2021 undergraduate admissions viewbook, the University had expected to return to its Residence Guarantee for the upcoming school year. Under the Residence Guarantee policy, all full-time, first-year students who meet the application and deposit payment deadline would receive a spot in residence.

However, residences will be operating at 93% capacity this year, as the University is not offering triples, quads, or loft doubles and will maintain some isolation spaces. Students who were offered spots will receive specific residence assignments later this summer.

Amidst the flood of waitlisted students scrambling to find housemates and off-campus housing, YGK News interviewed one student who was offered a spot in residence and three students who weren’t.

What students have to say

Emelia Patterson, ArtSci ’25, was offered a spot in residence.

“I definitely think a spot in residence will make my school year easier,” Patterson said. “Making friends is much easier when you’re in a big building with many floors of students compared to an off-campus house, and the commute to class is obviously [easier] compared to places a little farther away.”

Patterson said she thinks the situation is difficult for students and the University, and reducing residence capacity is an unfortunate consequence of COVID-19.

“I do feel for the students who were put on waitlists,” she added. “I hope that students who did not get a spot in residence are supported as much as possible when trying to find [off-campus housing].”

James Whichelo, ArtSci ’25, was placed near the top of the waitlist.

Whichelo said he submitted his residence application early and with open expectations. Though he was surprised to be waitlisted, Whichelo said he has since found a group of housemates and off-campus housing, which he is thankful for.

“As weird as it sounds, I think that living off-campus will be better personally than living in residence,” Whichelo said. “It’s kind of freeing. In terms of socializing, I think it gives more liberty in who I become friends with, as I’m not restricted to the residence.”

Photo by YGK News

Zane Mungal, ArtSci ’25, and Natalia Sciberras, ArtSci ’25, were both placed near the bottom of the waitlist.

Mungal said he was caught by surprise and became more disappointed as the day progressed.

“What [being waitlisted] has changed for me is the social aspect that I was expecting,” Mungal said. “When you’re in residence, you’re on campus and it’s easier to get to class, and I think for people who are a little less social, [being in residence] gives you more inclination to get social with your floor and your roommate.”

Mungal added that he felt blindsided by the size of the residence waitlist and didn’t expect to be waitlisted alongside hundreds of students.

“Right now, based on my spot, it says that I am very unlikely to get a spot in residence, so my parents and I are looking for a place off-campus,” Mungal said. “I’m just kind of worried that if I don’t find a spot that’s closer to campus … that I’ll have a harder time making friends.”

Sciberras said she was devastated and described being waitlisted as “the hardest, most stressful thing [she has] dealt with [her] entire life.”

“As someone who struggles with anxiety and has been for years, my initial reaction was an anxiety attack, to put it plainly.”

According to Sciberras, she and her parents “dropped everything” to search for off-campus housing. Within six hours, she “was able to find an amazing place to stay with very nice girls” and signed a lease that night.

Sciberras said she knew very little about residence capacity upon submitting her residence application.

“I never had this sort of problem in my entire application process,” Sciberras told YGK News. “I was accepted to my program back in December and I accepted my [offer] as of February. I was ahead of the game on everything, and I didn’t even know we were going to be put on a waitlist.”

Sciberras said she understands that COVID-19 restrictions will impact residence capacity, but she doesn’t understand “how a lottery system could have possibly be implemented for this kind of situation.”

“I’m from Brantford … so I was fully relying on residence to make my move-in easier,” she said. 

“I accepted the situation for a little bit after it happened, until I found out that there were kids from Kingston who got spots over me. I feel like kids who live a certain [distance] from the school should have had more of a priority over kids who lived significantly closer. I just find it absolutely devastating and confusing why they would implement a lottery system in such unprecedented times.”

“If I lived closer to Kingston, this wouldn’t be a problem,” she added.

The University’s response

“We understand and recognize that some students are disappointed that Queen’s University was unable to offer them a space in residence at this time,” the University responded in a statement to YGK News.

“We do have resources to assist with off-campus housing search and finding housemates, including our dedicated Off-Campus Living Advisor who has been connecting one-on-one with students and families, and is offering webinars and referrals,” the University wrote.

In an effort to connect incoming off-campus students to the Queen’s community, the University additionally recommended off-campus meal plans and the First Years Not In Residence Student (FYNIRS) Orientation.

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