The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 72.0°F | Light Rain

HASS-D Lottery Experiment Was Successful

@Body=[S]<*J*h"Body Text"*kn0*kt0*ra0*rb0*d0*p(0,12,0,10,0,0,G,"U.S. English")*t(0,0," "):


@LetSig=[S"Body"]<*R*h"Body Text"*kn0*kt0*ra0*rb0*d0*p(0,0,0,10,0,0,G,"U.S. English")*t(0,0," "):


@Body:As the designer of the Athena side of the new Humanities, Arts, and Social Science Distribution lottery system, I would like to respond to Daiji Takamoris recent letter to the editor [HASS-D Lottery Is Unfair, Jan. 19].

It is true that the January 5th cut-off for making selections would have required students to make their choices during finals if they were not returning to campus for IAP. However, because we provided selection numbers to the departments this early, they were able to add five new sections. There is a tradeoff between requiring early responses and having enough time to act on the responses; in this case, I think having 125 new seats added to the most popular classes shows that we made the right decision.

The reason for initially having two lotteries was to allow for the inevitable uncertainties of a new system. Now that the system has been proven to work, we agree with Takamori that the advantages of a single lottery outweigh the disadvantages, and consequently, in the future we will hold a single lottery on registration day. If students make their selections early enough, we will still be able to provide this information to the departments in time for them to add new sections before the lottery.

All in all, we believe the system worked very well; 1119 students of the 1206 who entered the lottery (over 90 percent) got their first-choice class. As Takamori notes, even he got the class he wanted!

(Enrollment for the second lottery, for those who did not like their initial assignment or did not enter the first lottery, remains open until noon on Jan. 27, and results will be returned by midnight of that day. To enter the second lottery from Athena, type add hass-d followed by xenroll or enroll.)

@LetSig:Andy Oakland, Programmer, Distributed Computing and Network Services