Students scramble to find off-campus housing

Junior Natalie Wentworth is trading in her fast-paced, late-night lifestyle to move into an apartment near campus with a single mother and 8-year-old child this fall.

She is adjusting to rules, such as no male visitors, that her peers don’t have to worry about.

Wentworth is just one of 500 Chapman students who applied for campus housing before a record-breaking freshmen class ousted upperclassmen and transfer students.

Students forced to seek off-campus housing have used house-hunting methods such as searching Craigslist, driving through Orange in search of “For Rent” signs and receiving assistance from parents and realtors. Not only is the search stressful, but the results often mean trading college lifestyle for the certainty of a home.

“My lifestyle will obviously be different from a mother and child,” Wentworth said. “I’ll have to be careful with my language and how loud I am.”

Senior Sarah Nininger also had to make sacrifices because of her housing situation.

“I live with four people that I don’t know very well now,” Nininger said. “I feel like I am doing the whole freshman thing over again because we have to set rules and responsibilities for each person and now I have to get used to a landlord as well.”

There is still a small group of students who have yet to find off-campus housing, said Al Ricci, the owner and broker of Ricci Realty, but this is inevitable under the circumstances.

“Oftentimes the students have arrangements and it falls apart and they have to scramble last minute before school, but that’s bound to happen,” Ricci said. “My advice would be to start looking as early as you can, don’t save it until you get back in town.”

Senior Kevin Cox has yet to find housing, though he has been working with a realtor and combing the streets for available properties.

As of now he is staying with friends, couch-surfing when he can’t score a bed.

“The whole situation is extremely stressful and frustrating and takes away from my college experience,” Cox said. “I don’t care how far away I live now from campus, I just want to find a home.”

When it became clear there would not be enough on-campus housing for the nearly 2,500 students who applied, Chapman hired Rowena Bangsil as the off-campus housing coordinator to put students in contact with landlords and realtors. Some students didn’t find this to be enough.

“I found the efforts from the school pretty useless,” Nininger said. “They told me to join the Facebook group, but I ended up doing all of the searching on my own.”

Wentworth, on the other hand, said she received emails from Chapman with lists of apartment complexes nearby and numbers of individuals also looking for roommates.

“Chapman was helpful in the emails, but their job could’ve been done more thoroughly if they provided me with contact information of landlords rather than links of websites,” Wentworth said.

It is not about the effort that has to be done to find the housing, said Wentworth, but rather the lifestyle adjustment a college student has to make because of it.

“The fact that this woman I am living with has a very young child was probably the hardest thing about the living situation. They are complete strangers to me and live entirely different lives,” Wentworth said. “I like kids, but I don’t think I’m ready to live with one.”

Leave a Comment