Why the Priority Point System Should Be Replaced

Eric Warner   Staff Writer

At Eastern, the way Housing and Residential Life determines how students can get into certain housing is through the Priority Point System. Priority points are given to students through many avenues, such as academic credits, GPA, attending housing programs, doing community service hours through the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), satisfactory conduct, various forms of campus participation, residence hall leadership, and overall service to the university. However, these ways of acquiring points are often difficult to achieve for most students, resulting in many having to live in the arguably poor living conditions of the Windham Street Apartments— High Rise and Low Rise, the cheapest residence halls on campus both in terms of priority points and actual money.

Students can only retrieve a few points by getting credits in classes or achieving a good GPA, and most of the other ways of receiving points will only be granted to those who seek to become more involved with housing or university affairs. This leaves most students to receive points through housing programs set up by their resident assistants or through campus participation such as clubs or being a student athlete. However, students can only receive a maximum of 20 points from club participation and a maximum of 15 from sports participation. Housing programs are also usually half of a point per program and there’s usually not a lot of them.

While this system attempts to encourage students to become more active on campus, students don’t, or at least shouldn’t, prioritize their time in having a group pizza party with their RA or in a club or sport event (unless they’re receiving scholarships from those activities). The purpose of attending college is to ultimately gain a professional degree in a field of the student’s choice and their priority should be passing all their classes. This, in addition to the large amount of assignments, makes it difficult to even go to these extracurricular events unless the students are willing to risk skipping a piece of homework or put off studying. Many students also have to balance their time with extracurriculars, most importantly, work. College isn’t free nor cheap, so most students have to work and apply to many scholarships while taking classes in order to be able to attend in the first place.

Much of a student’s time is prioritized in ensuring that they are able to continue their college career; going to on-campus events to acquire multiple points isn’t possible for many, especially those with tight schedules. In order to make a college students’ career more stress free, the priority point system should be replaced with using solely students’ GPA per semester. Since every student should be invested in getting good grades, those who have better GPAs would be able to get into the better residence buildings. This would motivate students who get poorer grades to try and improve so that they can have the opportunity to live in the better residence buildings.

High Rise and Low Rise should also be the next buildings to be renovated after the construction is done on Goddard. High Rise was originally built back in 1970 and Low Rise was built in 1972, and it really shows. Many suites in Low Rise don’t have efficient heating or cooling systems, the individual bedrooms don’t have lights, and it’s very claustrophobic especially for students that are taller than 5’10”. High Rise suffers from similar problems with its lighting system and other attributes.

Nevertheless, if the Priority Points System was replaced by simply using students’ GPAs, they would be able to better divvy up their time between work, homework, clubs, sports and other activities without worrying about gathering points. Activities like housing programs should still exist to allow students to be more socially engaged, but that would be based on their own terms; students would no longer need to be pushed to go to these events. Overall, the Priority Point System should be replaced to simply make the college experience less stressful and make the housing selection process fairer.

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