Boarding Student Over-Enrollment Leads to Changes in Housing for 2019-2020 School Year

The administration plans to implement more triple and double rooms for the 2019-2020 school year as an accommodation to the over-enrollment of boarding students. This is a change from Andover’s current housing system, as an increased number of students will reside in larger dormitories on campus.

Jim Ventre ’79, Assistant Head of School for Admission and Financial Aid, informed that though the total number of students will remain the same, the housing change is caused by the increased number of boarding students.

Ventre wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Our present over-enrollment is due, in large part, to the fact that we had projected an 80 percent admission yield for this year’s incoming class, but ended up having an 83 percent yield. That said, we expect to open school at around the same number of students for the coming year as we did in fall 2018. The difference in the coming year is in the number of boarding students relative to the number of day students.”

According to Rajesh Mundra, Associate Dean of Students and Residential Life, double and triple rooms will be available in Stearns House, Taylor House, and other large dorms next year. Mundra clarified that compliment rooms may be used as student rooms as well.

“We have been over-enrolled in the past, and therefore have alternative plans to accommodate the current situation. Large single rooms will be converted to double rooms, three room doubles to triples, and even complement rooms to student rooms if needed. We already provided returning students the option to be in those triples, though they will be occupied by new Lowers as well,” said Mundra.

Nikitas Alexandrakis ’22 believes that though Juniors were allowed to apply for triple rooms, the information was sent out too late to be considered as a valid option. He thinks that this was a main cause of dissatisfaction behind the dorm assignments.

“I think that having more triples is not all that beneficial to us [Juniors], because those triples will all be filled with new Lowers next year. They will ultimately be the ones getting the experience of living in big dorms, whereas we won’t. If the administration knew of this coming, they should have announced these changes sooner. When they officially announced it, a lot of my friends already had their own roommate pairs, which made it almost impossible to form a workable triple,” said Alexandrakis.

In an effort to minimize possible conflicts between residents, Mundra explained that the Dean of Students Office will provide special support to dorms that have extra students.

“The Dean of Students Office will address Proctors, Prefects, and larger communities within the dorm to discuss about ways to deal with these potential issues that may happen. Students are usually fine living in close quarters, yet we will closely monitor the quarrels that can happen from these situations,” said Mundra.

Mundra continued, “Due to the lack of complement rooms next year, many complement house counselors will have to work in common rooms. We will talk to them about adjusting to this new environment, because it is important for everything in the dorm to be a regular environment.”

While Hunter Flynn ’21 and Sam Lasater ’21, residents of Stearns House, acknowledge the administration’s effort to help the dorm community, they find that placing new Lowers into triple rooms may cause issues.

“The whole idea of having more triple rooms consisted of new Lowers is a little skeptical, because more conflicts are bound to happen between people who do not know each other. Also, [Juniors] who wish to apply for triples are required to ask for special approval from parents and go through a special process. But what gives the administration the right to randomly assign new Lowers into triples without consent?” said Flynn.

Lasater added, “Rather than having triple rooms, maybe the school should consider changing a faculty house to an additional dorm, or build a new dorm in the near future if the over-enrollment seems to continue. Another way to tackle these potential conflicts [is] having more Proctors around to help the house counselors out.”

For Mundra, supporting the student body and upholding ideal dorm values will be a challenge. He explained that achieving this maintenance is the administration’s goal.

“The school adjusts to accommodate, and we will to continue to welcome the students as we always have. The administration is mindful of these changes and how it is not ideal. Nonetheless, our school values will remain the same, and the Dean of Students Office will be supportive to all students with issues,” said Mundra.