Laurier residence ranked among Canada’s best

Graphic by Fani Hsieh

Graphic by Fani Hsieh

One of Wilfrid Laurier University’s residences has been highlighted as the fifth best in all of Canada.

The article, published by Huffington Post Canada, was titled “10 of Canada’s Best University Residences” and featured Laurier’s King’s Court Residence in the middle of the ranks.

King’s Court, located at 345 King Street, is an apartment-style residence leased by Laurier.

Chris Dodd, director of Residence Life at Laurier, noted that while King’s Court is modern and in good shape, he was surprised it was highlighted in the rankings.

“There are so many good residence buildings in this province,” he said. “Brand new, amazing places to live. I was really surprised that 345 landed on that list.”

The article also noted King Street Residence as being a top choice for students.

Shilpa Magesh, a fourth-year health science student, lived in MacDonald House in her first year before hearing about the university’s residence ranking.

She highlighted both King’s Court and King Street residences as Laurier’s best.

Thaksa Subraniam, a fourth-year bachelor of business administration student, agreed.

“I’ve been to the [University of] Waterloo [residences] because they have the same apartment style and it doesn’t look half as nice,” she said. “It just doesn’t have the same feel. I feel like King’s Court and King Street just feel more like home.”

Dodd said they are always trying to make improvements to their residence buildings. New in the industry is the desire for flexible study space.

“It’s not necessarily room configuration because in the industry we’ve sort of come to the point where there’s not much else you can do with a room,” Dodd said.

“It’s more about the common space and the hallways and what else is in the building, amenities in the building.”

The residence rankings were provided by UniversityHub and are part of a larger project in which the company ranks Canadian universities as a whole.

Creators Joel Nicholson and Alex Dorward talked about how they had a sense of dissatisfaction when looking at other university rankings such as Maclean’s or the Globe and Mail and the way these publications weighted their criteria.

“We didn’t see it as weighting the things that were actually important to prospective undergraduate university students and even graduate — but mostly a focus on undergrad,” Nicholson said.

Residences are one of the 55 evaluation areas they use to determine a university’s rank. So far they have surveyed around 1,500 Canadian university students.

Students ranked each of these areas out of 10 and are given the opportunity to provide written reviews of the different evaluation areas.

UniversityHub then used these reviews to select which residences to highlight in the Huffington Post article, taking the residence most frequently mentioned by students and confirming their findings with current students and alumni.

Dorward explained that eventually they will add a historical portion where students will be able to see an archive of the previous year’s rankings in addition to those in real time.

Nicholson said the results have been interesting.

“A few of the large schools who have done really well in the Maclean’s rankings are a little bit down on our list,” he said. “A big one is the University of Toronto.”

Nicholson and Dorward said they figure this has to do with the way Maclean’s weighs its criteria, but also with how the university has ranked historically.

“All these 55 criteria were student provided,” Nicholson said. “Next year when we publish our next rankings there very well is going to be new criteria added to that based on requests.”

Laurier’s current overall ranking on the site is also fifth.

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