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The Carletonian

ResLife increases availability for Northfield Option

<f Northfield Option will rise this fall to 79 students, up from 64 students in the fall of 2016, as a result of several factors, the most important of which are the large class of 2020 and the target size for the class of 2021, according to Andrea Robinson, Director of Residential Life.

To determine the size of Northfield Option, ResLife receives a target number of incoming students from Admissions each February. ResLife uses this target number, along with the number of  spaces available on campus and the number of students expected off campus in each term, to determine the number of Northfield Option spots. Juniors apply to Northfield Option by mid-February and are notified about their acceptance soon after.

Students must sign leases by the end of February.

However, because the Northfield Option number is based on the target number of incoming students and not on the actual number of first year students, which is not known until fall term, ResLife occasionally makes adjustment to Northfield Option and to rooming throughout the spring and summer. Last year, for example, an additional 12 to 15 Northfield Option spots were offered and accepted over the summer in order to free up space in dorms to accommodate the unusually large class of 2020.

In general, the college has a target goal of 50 to 60 for Northfield Option, so next year will exceed its  goal. The college created the Northfield Option target size a few years ago, after considering on-campus and off-campus housing availability and ideal class sizes, according to Robinson.

While Northfield Option has historically been a popular choice for students, the college would prefer to have a smaller number of students living off campus each year, she explained.

“Carleton has a commitment to being a residential campus,” Robinson said. “Part of that is providing on-campus living options.”

In addition to Carleton’s goal to be residential, there is a logistical limit to the availability of off-campus housing for students in Northfield.
“There’s a reality of how many living spaces are available in Northfield,” Robinson said. “If our Northfield Option numbers were closer to 100, for example, it would be hard for 100 of our students to find reasonable living accommodations close to campus.”

Katie Williams ’18 missed the initial deadline to apply for Northfield Option, but when she heard from an RA friend that ResLife was still accepting applications, she started looking for housing. Unfortunately, she had trouble finding something that would work for her and her friends.

“The closest apartments that I found for us to live in were by Malt-O-Meal, which is not super convenient especially if you don’t have a car,” Williams said. She is now hoping to live in a James quint next year.

Naomi Borowsky ’18 was accepted to Northfield Option and will be living off-campus next year. However, she was initially intimidated by the prospect of finding a place to live. “Honestly, my worst fear was having a really good draw number because I was like: ‘Oh, trying to arrange off-campus housing seems stressful,’ and then, I did,” Borowsky said.

She explained that after draw numbers came out, “there’s this crazy rush” to talk to landlords and to  Carleton students who currently live in off-campus houses in order to find and arrange rentals for next academic year.

Borowski decided she wanted to live off campus in order to have more independence while still having support from Carleton. “It feels like a good intermediate step before graduating,” Borowski said.

According to Robinson, all 79 of the spots for Northfield Option have been filled this year, and there is a waitlist should more spots become available.

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