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Most Students Got Top Choices in Lottery

By Ifung Lu
Associate News Editor

More than 90 percent of the students in the housing lottery were assigned to one of their top three choices, according to information released by the Office of Residence and Campus Activities.

A slightly greater percentage of women than men received one of their top three choices - 94.9 percent of the women, and 86.7 percent of the men. Only 5.3 percent of the students received assignments that were among their bottom three choices.

"From all the reports we've gotten, everything went extremely well," said Margaret A. Jablonski, associate dean for residence and campus activities. There were no serious problems, and people were pretty comfortable with the housing process, Jablonski said.

The housing process also resulted in fewer crowded rooms this year. According to Jablonski, about 130 rooms on campus were crowded, which is down from the all time high last year, when rooms in Baker House were crowded to quints and lounges in MacGregor House were converted into bedrooms.

Jablonski attributes the success of the lottery to several factors. The addition of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house, located on Commonwealth Avenue, and the conversion of the W2A building, located between McCormick Hall and Ashdown House, to the McCormick Annex increased the Institute housing capacity by about 50 people. W2A used to contain the chaplaincy offices and various rooms used for Panhellenic Association activities.

Huntington Hall, in downtown Boston, continues to house around 60 upperclassmen.

In addition, an unusually successful independent living group rush this year relieved some of the housing problems by opening up vacancies in dormitories on campus.

Many students pleased

Most students were pleased with their housing assignments. Some celebrated receiving assignments to oversubscribed dormitories like MacGregor and McCormick, while many others reacted positively to receiving dormitories other than their top choices.

"I was really happy [to get MacGregor]. I went with some friends and we all got the same dormitory," said Dylan Rivas '98, who had been assigned his first choice.

Rebeka Marcus '98 was also happy to receive her first choice of Random Hall. "I'm very happy there. But I was pretty sure that I would get it because it's undersubscribed," Markus said.

For the 8.6 percent of students that did not receive any of their top three preferences, the housing process was far from perfect.

Senior House, in particular, received a disproportionate number of students who had listed it among their bottom three choices. More than half the new residents listed it as their fifth, sixth, or seventh choice.

David R. Montgomery '98 had listed MacGregor as his first choice but received his fifth choice, Senior House, instead.

"I felt a bit disgruntled and displeased with the housing lottery system," Montgomery said. His roommate, Jeremy Lin '98, felt pretty much the same way. However, he and Lin are getting used to living at Senior House.

"At the time, it was not good. I would have liked Next House, but I'm satisfied [with Senior House] now," Lin said.

Although some students are still unhappy, Montgomery believes that the majority of the students have coped with living at Senior House.

"Those that could not have moved out," Montgomery said.

RCA relocates unhappy students

RCA helped unhappy students find alternative assignments when possible, Jablonski said. "Fifty students requested to be placed elsewhere. A third of these chose to stay" at their current dormitories, she said.

Montgomery, who was offered the opportunity to change dormitories, decided to stay at Senior House.

"The housing office has been really good about it, trying to accommodate folks. I'm very happy with [Senior House] now. It's got its good points, and its got its bad points," Montgomery said.

Bingru Zhou '98, who was assigned to East Campus, her third choice, decided to switch to Next House. Once at Next, she decided that East Campus was probably a better dormitory for her.

"The RCA let me switch back," Zhou said. They were "really helpful."