Change to Rome semester application

Molly Wierman, News Editor

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The new application for the Rome Program will require students to apply for a specific academic year, rather than a semester, during which they wish to study in Rome. The changes will begin with the fall 2016 and spring 2017 Rome classes.

Associate Provost, Dr. John Norris, issued a statement Friday, Aug. 21 explaining that imbalances in applicant numbers for each semester necessitated this new application process, which the Irving administration then decided to implement. The fall 2015 class has 89 students, while the spring 2016 class accepted 133 students, with only 108 beds available.

“Some factors contributing to this imbalance include a greater number of students declaring science or math majors as freshmen, as well as greater participation in fall athletics,” Dr. Norris said.

Mrs. Rebecca Davies, Director of Rome and Summer Programs for the Rome office in Irving, stated that some (though not all) of the remaining 25 students for whom the campus does not have space will likely be able to go to Rome. “Historically there is usually significant attrition on the spring list during the fall semester, as some students change their mind and withdraw from the list for a variety of reasons,” Davies said. Dr. Peter Hatlie, Director of the Rome Program for the Rome campus, further stated that while the spring semester has historically been more popular than the fall, the inequality has suddenly begun to increase.

“What this means effectively is that perfectly qualified spring hopefuls may, in the end, not be admitted for lack of space in the dormitory, not lack of merit,» Dr. Hatlie said, adding that additional housing in Rome is a long-term solution but «still some years down the road.”

The Rome Office will ensure that the fall semester is full before assigning students to the spring. In other words, if a student applies in March 2016 to go to Rome in the 2016-2017 academic year, he will be accepted or waitlisted for the fall semester or instead assigned to the spring list, which does not guarantee acceptance to the spring semester. The Rome office will review the spring list to accept or waitlist students (as appropriate) after the fall 2016 class departs. Any student who is denied for both fall and spring can then apply for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Students will also have the opportunity to list obstacles to attending either semester, with, according to Dr. Norris, priority given to “legitimate academic and extracurricular situations.” The Rome office will also accommodate students’ personal preferences whenever possible.

“The university is committed to making the Rome experience available to all eligible students,” Dr. Norris said. “As incoming freshman classes increase, we are adjusting the application process to make sure that we utilize every possible opportunity for our students to go to Rome.”

Housing problems will continue to worsen with 400 students in the incoming class of 2019. Still, many incoming freshmen are unconcerned about the application changes.

“The new Rome rules don’t really bother me,” freshman Paul Patton said. “It sounds like you can probably get the semester you want.”

The new process will not affect admission to summer Rome, as students can still directly apply for the summer program, rather than for a specific academic year.

The Rome application previously required students to apply specifically to the fall or spring semester, although it did include a question asking whether a prospective spring student would be open to studying in Rome in the fall or vice versa. Students would be accepted, waitlisted, or rejected from whichever semester they applied to, unless they specified willingness to attend the other semester. The old application, like the new one, took into account academics, athletics, and student preferences

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