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HASS-D, PE Lotteries Give Most Students Top Choices

By Ifung Lu
Staff Reporter

The Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Distribution lottery and the new Athena-based physical education lottery placed 86 percent and 84 percent of registrants, respectively, into their first choice selections.

This year, only 80 of the 1,951 students who entered the HASS-D lottery were not assigned to a class, said HASS Office Coordinator Bette K. Davis. Ninety-three percent received one of their top two choices in the lottery.

Although the 86 percent figure is down from the average of above 90 percent in the last couple years, Davis attributes the decrease to the fact that many students entered only one choice in the lottery.

For Michael A. Behr '98, the lottery was went well. "I was very lucky. I only gave the program one choice and got it," he said.

In the very first PElottery, 301 out of the 2,036 registrants did not receive any of their choices, said Michelle L. Harper, administrative secretary in the athletic department. Overall, 80 percent of students received one of their top two choices.

Stephanie A. Jenrette '97 thought that the lottery "was cool, being on Athena. You don't have to wait in line."

However, not everybody liked the switch to the computerized system. "I didn't get my PE choice, and it's frustrating because I know if I lined up in time [for the old system], I would have gotten it," Peter S. Choe '97.

Director of the Athletic Department Gordon V. Kelly believes that the new registration system for PE classes is an appropriate step for the times.

"I think in 1995, we have to do something like this," Kelly said.

Online registration for PE classes

Students, staff, faculty, and other MIT affiliates registered for P.E. classes through a new system on Athena this fall, Harper said.

Like the HASS-D lottery, the PE lottery allowed registrants to enter up to six choices and employed an algorithm to maximize favorable placement, Harper said.

"It tries to give you your first choice," Harper said.

The implementation of the online lottery is a departure from the traditional first-come, first-served registration system at Rockwell Cage, which had generated many complaints, according to Harper.

In addition, the old system allowed only a very short period of time to register, whereas the new computerized system allows for a week-long registration period.

Another benefit of the new system is that it allows the department to track the popularity of the various classes, Harper said.

In certain instances, this would allow the Department to expand and cut back class sections, Harper said.

However, the limiting factor on the number of class sections will continue to be budget and resource constraints, she said.

Despite these advantages, some people still prefer the old system, Kelly said.

"We've had people come in and tell us that the old way was more personal," Kelly said, referring to the booths where coaches and instructors would talk about their activities.

Some HASS-D subjects still open

There are still 32 HASS-D subjects that are still open to students, according to Davis.

Students can verify whether a class is still open by typing "add hass-d" and then "showopen" from any Athena workstation, Davis said.

When a student has found a class that is still open, all he has to do is show up to the class and discuss enrollment with the professor.

Davis also emphasized that students who do not get into their first choice selections are guaranteed registration in the same class the next time it is offered.

All they have to do is "contact the HASS office anytime after advance registration," Davis said.

"It's not a perfect system, but I think that it is working quite well," Davis said.