Clearing the Clutter: Simplifying Student Turn

Why does turn week make so many student housing operators and community managers cringe?

The way Mark Zikra, Director of Systems Compliance at CA Ventures, put it at the 2015 Entrata Summit, “A lot of the pain comes with organization, knowing what’s accurate and up to date as far as turn goes. Drinking cases of red bull, not sleeping for three days….” Dry erase boards and sticky notes with move-in notes and check lists clutter property offices. And, matching roommates is often a high risk task that ends with at least one unsurprising disaster. Historically, multifamily software just wasn’t made to handle student housing.

Recently, though, the industry has been embracing new technologies. Entrata has seen the vacuum and resolved to fix it with property management software specifically dedicated to student housing.

After going through their first turn period with Entrata Student, the difference was obvious for CA Ventures. “It has been much easier because of the organization and collectiveness of the software. We were able to look at everything on a grand scale. It saved us a ton of time,” Zikra explained. “It was exponentially better than anything we’ve ever done before.”

Time is the biggest worry with student turn each year and the thing every property wants to cut down on. With ways to quickly swap students from one space to another, move-in boards that allow you to check the status of each property in real-time, roommate matching, and ways to bulk move residents into a unit space, Entrata manages the process from start to finish. Here’s a few of the specific features:

  1. Make Ready Board: Entrata Student offers a digital display of a unit-by-unit make ready status. The board is updated in real time and clearly displays next steps for each unit. Turning an entire property over the course of one or two days can entail lots of work orders and the Make Ready Board keeps everything in order.

  2. Move-in Checklist: It’s so easy that you can have students submit required information via the ResidentPortal, like proof of insurance, signed addenda, and ID photos, even before they arrive. The Move-In Checklist shows every item in one place. During move-in, students can check in at a single workstation to complete the move-in process. Even if students don’t get a chance to check in beforehand, it takes little effort and time from your on site staff if you have iPads right in the leasing office for student to use like Aspen Heights had this last turn season. As K.O. Orsak, Learning Development Business Partner at Aspen Heights, said at Entrata’s 2015 Summit, “We had ipads right at the gate and were able to move people in right there, right away.”

  3. Bulk Unit Assignment: A visual representation of unit spaces shows your pre-lease occupancy data, based on unit type. Simply drag-and-drop residents onto unit spaces. Unit assignment letters are then generated automatically and can be distributed via email.

  4. Roommate Matching: Roommates are automatically matched based on applicant information such as amenities preferences, area of study, hours of activity, neatness, visitor preference, or other criteria. Roommate matching works seamlessly with the unit assignment board and wait list functionality.

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