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Residence Selection Begins on Athena

By David D. Hsu
News Editor

After going through the dormitory tours, barbecues, and carnivals, freshmen began entering the housing lottery on Athena yesterday at 4 p.m.

Freshmen and transfer students who intend to live in dormitories should enter the lottery by 3 p.m. today. The lottery can be activated from an Athena account by typing "add forms; froshpref &".

There are a total of 15 choices in the lottery: 10 dormitories, Chocolate City, and four language houses. However, two choices are single-sex. McCormick Hall is all-female; Chocolate City is all-male.

The dormitory selection can be changed any time until 5 p.m. on Monday.

The results of the lottery will be available on Wednesday by 5 p.m., said Andy Oakland, a programmer for Information Systems who manages the lottery program.

To check results, freshmen can simply run the lottery program again, Oakland said. E-mail notification will also be sent out but is slower than running froshpref again.

Better placement anticipated

In past years, 93 to 94 percent of freshmen receive one of their top three selections, said Phillip M. Bernard, program director of residential life. About 70 percent receive their top choice.

"We're hoping it's significantly better this year," Bernard said.

Part of the reason for better placement is that less crowding is expected this year, Bernard said.

In addition, Eliot S. Levitt '89, a former staff assistant for the Office of Residence and Campus Activities, wrote an optimization loop so students would have a better chance of receiving their top five choices, Bernard said. Levitt originally wrote the dormitory lottery program.

Frosh can fill out comment field

A comment field in the lottery enables freshmen to enter a preference for housing, Oakland said. For example, students can request single-sex housing for religious reasons or a first-floor room for medical concerns.

Last year, about 800 students entered the dormitory lottery and just over 100 entered something in the comment field, Oakland said.

A lot of women asked for single-sex housing citing religious reasons, Oakland said. There were also a few medical requests.

Still, several freshmen used the comment field to request conditions the lottery does not address. For example, some freshmen mentioned preferences for single rooms or non-smoking roommates, Oakland said.

RCA may start looking into having a specific checkbox for certain dormitory preferences, Bernard said.

The lottery can also allow students to enter roommate groups, Oakland said. However, if multiple students want to form a group, only one person should enter the lottery for that group.

Students happy with lottery

Freshmen generally didn't encounter problems with the dormitory lottery system.

"I'm not a computer user, but it's pretty easy to use," said Chris Chow '01.

Freshmen used the tours and dormitory literature to help make their final decision.

"I took a tour, and the people I met convinced me," said Derek S. Lam '01, who made Next House his first choice.

Mansour Sindi '01 checked out all the dormitories and eventually chose MacGregor House as his top pick for its single rooms "because I had roommates in high school."

For Becky A. Neuschatz '01, Baker House looked like a fun place to live and her friends were also thinking of rushing there, she said.

Jason C. Yang contributed to the reporting of this story.