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Frosh to Declare Dorm Preferences

By Eric Richard
Associate News Editor

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, incoming students will be making making their dormitory selection preferences in the Residence and Orientation Center.

For the second year in a row, students will be able to make their selections via a bank of computers set up in the R/O Center in the Student Center, rather than filling out preference cards by hand as in past years.

Students will enter their dormitory preferences into the computer. A computerized matching system then attempts to provide the best available selections for all students.

According Andrew M. Eisenmann '75, assistant dean for residence and campus activities, students will be given preference cards and instructions on how to input their selections into the computer when they come to the R/O Center. After marking their preferences on the cards, the students enter their rankings into a computer.

Eisenmann said this is a slight change from last year, when students weren't given cards at all. The change will hopefully minimize the amount of time spent at the computers thinking of rankings, he said. Last year, some students were forced to wait an hour or more to register their preferences. "This will be good for us, and good for them too," Eisenmann said.

The matching system is done in two rounds, with the results of the first and second rounds being released on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and on Wednesday at 5 p.m. respectively.

Eisenmann said that the first round will begin by determining the number of spaces available, assuming a maximum crowding level of 165 students. The matching system will try to make assignments for freshmen who have not already pledged an independent living group without exceeding the crowding limit. After the results of the first round are announced, students who receive assignments will be expected to move in by Tuesday night.

The number of students remaining to be processed in the second round will depend upon the success of ILGs today, Eisenmann said. Because the placement of freshmen in dormitories and the acceptance of pledges happen concurrently, spaces in the dormitories open up between Tuesday and Wednesday, he added.

The second round results assign all remaining freshmen to dormitory rooms, with those students expected to move Wednesday evening.

The new mechanism of entering rankings by computer was initially implemented to save R/O workers from having to enter the preferences into the computers by hand.

"It went very well last year in that one of the goals of the algorithm is to optimize happiness," said Eisenmann. "We try not to assign people to their top choices when possible. Although slightly fewer people get their first choice, more people get there second and third choices."

Last year, 97.5 percent of the freshman were placed in one of their first three dormitory preferences.