Freshmen face conflict over spring Rome

Sophomores Tess Stirton, Brian O’Neil, Maggie Grushow, Paul Mosman and Monica Thornton pose for a photo in Rome last fall. Photo by Kaity Chaikowsky.

Last week the freshman Rome applicants received their Rome letters informing them of which semester they will be attending — yet many students were waitlisted.

The spring semester proved to be popular choice, causing an imbalance between numbers of applicants between semesters.

Any student who did not have a valid academic or athletic reason for spring was waitlisted to make room for the abundance of science and classics majors as well as athletes who must attend spring Rome.

During the initial Rome application process in February, freshmen were told to choose the semester that fits their personality and their social circle.

Additionally, at the Rome applicant meeting last month, freshmen were informed that if their grades and conduct were more than sufficient and if they submitted their applications early, they would receive priority.

However, many freshmen are now being forced to change their initial decisions and separate from their established social groups.

The letters informing applicants of waitlisted status said that the students have the option of voluntarily switching from spring to fall “until the fall semester is filled,” but failure to do so will result in the remaining spots being picked via lottery.

Jillian Jassek, a theology major with no academic ties to either semester, visited the Rome office to inquire about the issue, mainly concerning the lottery.

“If you don’t accept your lottery poll, you get put on the bottom of the waitlist for spring,” Jassek said.

Jassek also explained that “historically, people drop out every year,” meaning students who drop out of the Rome program altogether will open up more spots for eager spring applicants, thus reducing the likelihood of a lottery drawing.

While factors such as GPA contribute to general acceptance into the Rome program, the deciding factors regarding which semester the applicant will be placed in are athletic commitments and major requirements.

Amaya Fehringer expressed that she was surprised to be waitlisted, considering her GPA and Dean’s List status:

“[Getting waitlisted] never really crossed my mind, I guess. I was banking on the fact that I had a high GPA.” Fehringer explained that she took the news as a sign and immediately changed to fall.

“I just kind of made the snap decision,” Fehringer said. “I filled out the form on the whim and that’s how I’m going fall.”

Rebecca Davies, the director of the Rome office, explained that there are four major factors influencing the rapidly filling spring semester: major requirements, athletic commitments, humanities students personally identifying as a spring Romer and indifferent students who imitated their friends’ decisions.

Furthermore, Davies explains that the class of ’2020 is not the first class to face this conflict.

“Most recently, in fall 2015 Rome there were 19 empty beds while we had to turn away qualified students for spring 2016,” Davies said. “The university implemented this new procedure after the 2015-2016 experience. The university’s position is that for students who wish to attend Rome, a Rome semester or summer is better than no Rome program.”

However, the issue might not be as dramatic as rumors have made it seem. Word has spread from frantic freshmen in the Cap Bar that half the students have been waitlisted, but Davies explains that this is not the case.

Davies said that “33 total as of March 1st” have exceeded the capacity for housing in spring Rome and that the number continues to change daily.

“Thanks to a number of students who graciously volunteered to move from spring to fall, we now anticipate we will eventually be able to accommodate all interested qualified students in a Rome term in the 2017-2018 academic year,” Davies said.

Jonathan Roach, who voluntarily switched to fall, expressed his disappointment in receiving news that he was placed on the waitlist, but nevertheless aimed to make the most out of his situation.

“Now that I look at it, it’s really great because I’m being able to go meet a lot of people that I didn’t necessarily know that well beforehand, but I’ll get to know very well,” Roach said.


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