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Hold Lotteries Before First Day

Registration at MIT is very easy. There are no long lines, and there is no waiting around to sign up for classes. All we have to do is submit a schedule form and pick up our schedule on Registration Day.

With all this ease comes one problem. More people can be registered in a class than there are spaces for. This results in lotteries. Lotteries are held the first day of any class that is over-subscribed. If you are lotteried out of a class, you must go find another one that fits in your schedule. This can be very difficult. Also, you miss the first lecture or two from the new class you take.

This process would be much simpler if lotteries were held before classes started. Pre-registration forms are handed in early enough to determine which classes will require lotteries. Only a few classes are over-subscribed and they can hold their lotteries a day or two before the beginning of classes. This would give students enough time to find a new class before the term starts.

This is not a difficult problem to handle. If the policies are changed just a bit, life will be much easier for students.

Alan Mizrahi '97