Record numbers vie for 2011-12 CA spots

A new online application may explain the growing interest in CA positions.

by Sarah Nienaber

Especially in a rough economy, free room and board can look pretty good to college students. This âÄî and an easier application process âÄî may have contributed to a record number of community adviser applications for next fall.
The volume of applications has risen for a number of years, reaching 245 for the 2011-12 academic year.
Housing and Residential Life Coordinator Grant Anderson is pleased with the âÄúhealthy applicant poolâÄù this year.
With approximately 150 community adviser positions available, about 100 applicants will be turned away.
From 2003 to 2007, about 130 to 150 students applied annually. From 2008 through last year, there were between 180 and 200 applicants.
Sophomore Rebecca Jackson said she applied for the opportunity to gain leadership experience.
Jackson isnâÄôt concerned about her chances. She got advice from her father, who often conducts interviews in his work.
While many other types of applications through the University of Minnesota have been digital for years, this is the first time the community adviser position is available online.
âÄúWe had to make sure we wouldnâÄôt lose any work continuity through an online process,âÄù Anderson said of the switch.
The application looks slightly different than it has in previous years. To streamline the process, applicants donâÄôt need to submit résumés.
Previously the application was offered only in paper form and had to be submitted within a three-day window. This year, in addition to being available electronically, the application was open from Dec. 7 to Jan. 20.
Applicants go through 12 hours of workshops and interviews and should be notified about their positions by March 25 âÄî a date some say is too late.
Accounting sophomore Blake Biermaier applied to be a community adviser last year and didnâÄôt get accepted for the position. By the time he found out, it was crunch time to find housing.
Biermaier sorted himself out in time last year but worries for students in similar situations this year. As community adviser applications reach record highs, apartments are filling up faster than ever.
Biermaier said he thinks Housing and Residential Life should notify students earlier so they can start looking for housing if they donâÄôt get the job.
âÄúI got lucky,âÄù he said. âÄúMy guess, though, is that some other people didnâÄôt get as lucky as me.âÄù
Anderson encourages students like Biermaier to have backup plans for housing.
Despite JacksonâÄôs confidence, even she is prepared with an alternate plan for housing next fall.