More Frosh Request Housing Adjustment

Lower Percentage of Frosh Move This Year

A higher percentage of eligible freshmen entered the Housing Adjustment Lottery this year as compared to last year, with a lower percentage of those entering the lottery being allowed to move into a different dormitory. The lottery, which closed on Tuesday, allowed freshmen to either choose to stay in the building they had been temporarily assigned during the summer or rank up to four other dormitories to which they would like to move.

Of the 209 freshmen who entered the Adjustment Lottery earlier this week, 154 (74 percent) were able to move to a different dormitory. This percentage is lower than it has been in previous years, though it represents a larger number of students. Last year, a total of 152 freshmen entered the lottery, with 124 (or 81.6 percent) able to move. (For more statistics, see the tables on page 15.)

“I’m comfortable with the number of moves,” Robin Smedick, assistant director of Undergraduate Housing, said. “[A large number] of requests were for Baker House, but only nine students wanted to leave.” Smedick said she had anticipated that a higher number of freshmen would request a move because the Class of 2011 is larger than the Class of 2010.

While there are currently 1,067 freshmen that need dormitory housing in the Class of 2011, only 849 (or 79.5 percent) were eligible to move, according to Smedick. The remaining students were not eligible because they had been placed in Next House or McCormick Hall, which offer Residence-Based Advising, during the Summer Housing Lottery. Of the students who were eligible to move, approximately 25 percent entered the Adjustment Lottery and 18 percent actually moved.

Last year, there were 791 eligible freshmen out of 1,004 students that needed dormitory housing in the Class of 2010. Of the 791 eligible to move, approximately 19 percent entered the Adjustment Lottery and 16 percent moved into a different dormitory.

The most popular dormitories this year, based on the number of first-choice requests during the Adjustment Lottery, were Baker House with 54 requests, Burton-Conner with 42 requests, and Simmons Hall with 34 requests. East Campus had the highest number of requests, with 42 freshmen requestiing to move out. Burton-Conner followed with 39 requests and New House with 30.

These rankings are similar to last year’s. Baker House was the most popular dormitory during the Adjustment Lottery last year, followed by Burton-Conner. Random Hall and MacGregor House came after with the same number of first-choice requests. East Campus had the highest number of students requesting a move, followed by Burton-Conner and New House.

During this year’s Summer Housing Lottery, Baker was the most popular dormitory with the most first-choice requests, followed by Burton-Conner, MacGregor, and Simmons.

This year, of the 154 students who moved after the Adjustment Lottery, 105 (68 percent) received their first choice dormitory, 29 (19 percent) received their second, 18 (12 percent) received their third, and two (1 percent) received their fourth.

A greater percentage of freshmen who received their second or third choices during the Summer Housing Lottery entered the Adjustment Lottery than those who received their first choice. Thirteen percent of those who originally received their first choice (86 out of 654 students) entered the Adjustment Lottery, while approximately 37 percent of those receiving their second choice (106 out of 288 students) and 19 percent of those receiving their third choice (17 out of 89 students) entered the lottery.

No students who received their fourth choice during the original lottery entered the Adjustment Lottery.

Crowding still a problem

Crowding is slightly higher than last year. Smedick predicted that there are approximately 80 “crowds,” or crowded rooms or spaces. Smedick said she did not know the exact number as she was still getting reports from dormitory room assignment chairs. “Some were able to de-crowd during [Wednesday’s] in-house rush,” she said.

Last year at this time, there were approximately 65–70 crowds.

Crowding has been a long-term problem in MIT undergraduate dormitories. In 2002, Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75 said he would eliminate crowding and was successful the following year when Simmons Hall opened; however, crowding returned in the fall of 2003. Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict said in 2002 that crowding was not an option for the MIT housing system and has said that MIT would admit a smaller freshman class. The past two years, however, MIT has admitted students off the waitlist, increasing the class size both years.

Benedict has also said that MIT would look into building a new dormitory to help alleviate crowding. Plans to convert W1, current graduate dormitory Ashdown House, to an undergraduate dormitory are stalled. Director of Housing Dennis Collins said that Housing is working with MIT Facilities and Theresa M. Stone SM ’75, executive vice president and treasurer, to figure out how to proceed — what and how renovations would be completed.

Construction on the new graduate dormitory, NW35, which is set to replace W1 and take the name Ashdown House, is on time and “moving on beautifully,” Collins said. The windows are being installed. “The building should be completely closed to the weather by November,” Collins said. The dormitory, which will be built near Sidney-Pacific, should be open by August or September 2008.

Lottery is ‘switching algorithm’

According to Smedick, there are a number of differences between the Summer Housing Lottery and the Housing Adjustment Lottery. While students can rank up to 16 preferences during the former, they can only rank up to four during the latter.

The Adjustment Lottery “is a switching algorithm so it can only switch students into buildings that students are switching out of,” Smedick said. “If not students are asking to switch out of a building, then none will be switched in.”

Gender is also a factor in both lotteries. “We try to keep a balance of gender in each [dormitory],” Smedick said, “and in some buildings can only switch out and in the same gender in the Adjustment Lottery.”

Last year, Smedick said that a few extra spaces are held during the Summer Housing Lottery for upperclass students who may be returning to MIT after a leave of absence. These vacancies are used in the Adjustment Lottery, allowing some dormitories to accept more students than the number that move out.