The Shaft

Thinking of living in the Living-Learning Center? Here’s how to apply

Room selection is a stressful process (so much so that we have to talk about it several times in January). If you’re a first-year dreading sophomore housing, or an upperclassman missing a group, there may be another solution for you.

The Living-Learning Center is currently accepting applications, which are due on Jan. 22 (this Sunday), for the next year. Much like applying for Special Interest Communities (shameless self promo ;) ), there are more expectations for applying for and living in the LLC. You need to be at least kind of involved in your dorm to be considered. However, since the LLC makes sure that there’s a mix of students from all four classes, you’re bound to make several new friends. How exciting is that?

If you’re thinking of living in the LLC, or just don’t wanna deal with the housing lottery, we’re here to guide you through the application process step-by-step.

Quick ’n’ dirty: WTF is LLC housing?

Basically, the LLC is located in Hartley and Wallach Halls, and it allows students from all four classes to live together in a suite or floor. Unlike SICs, you’re not united under a specific interest (like health or music)—you’re united by your love for floor events and outings.

The whole point of this is to help the first-years transition to college, since they’ll be immediately surrounded by people who’ve been through it all. Upperclassmen might choose this for the single or to help the new freshies out.

Your involvement actually matters now

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The LLC emphasizes the students’ involvement in the Columbia community. That means if you do live in the LLC, you and the rest of the members have to plan several more floor events than you do now. Since you’re expected to be involved once you live there, the application is completely based on your experience at Columbia and your participation in activities.

Before you think about applying, think hard about your involvement on your floor and your dorm. That means you should have been going to floor outings, participated in hall council, or at least gone to study breaks.

The pros and cons

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Just like any housing option, living in the LLC definitely has some advantages. For starters, the suites in Hartley have their own kitchens, bathrooms, and lounges that make it feel like a real living room. It’s also a surefire way to end up with a single, if that’s your goal.

Plus, since everyone there is super involved with the dorm and community, it’s pretty easy to make friends with your suitemates. You’ll definitely be around each other a lot, and the more events you have, the closer you’ll become. Sounds pretty lit, right?

But like all housing options, there are a few downsides to living in the LLC. For starters, while you’ll definitely make friends with your suitemates, there’s no guarantee you’ll befriend them all. Dishes may pile up, things may get dirty, and fights might be incited. It sounds like a regular Friday to me, tho.

You also might not be down for all of the extra events, but you’ll have to get through them to get some pretty solid housing.

Impress the associate director (the top dog)

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That’s right, you’re not trying to impress the people in the LLC. You have to do your best to impress the person in charge of the entire housing sitch.

The app itself should take around 15 to 20 minutes to complete. There’s a section that asks you to list all of the events you’ve attended and helped plan. (This doesn’t include events from NSOP or study breaks, btw.) You’ll also have to write five short responses to questions about your college experience and interest in the LLC.

There’s no word limit for the answers to these questions, but we imagine you should write around 200 to 300 words for each question. You’ll be asked about what you like about your housing, what’s been challenging, how you addressed those challenges, why you want to live in the LLC, and how you’ll contribute. This might sound intimidating at first, but if you show some excitement in the response, you’re bound to get in.

Unlike the SICs, there’s no interview, and you actually have the ability to apply in a group of up to four people. However, you will have to ask your RA for a recommendation. Be sure to ask them ASAP so you have a chance at living in the LLC! Once the app is done, you’ll be notified of your acceptance on Feb. 22, and then you’re all set for housing.

There you have it! Your guide to applying to the LLC. Hopefully you’ll be able to watch all of your friends stress over the suite in Nuss getting taken by the group before them.

Dreading housing selection already? Spectrum will be covering housing with The Shaft. Check back in late February for all of your up-to-the-minute housing content. Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat us @CUspectrum for more housing updates.

Huber Gonzalez is Spectrum’s deputy editor and a sophomore in Columbia College. As someone in an SIC, he understands why you’d want to avoid the lottery. Too bad he’s going through in-person selection this year. Reach him at huber.gonzalez@columbiaspectator.com to console him.

All gifs via giphy.com.

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