The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 40.0°F | Fair

Freshmen Attracted By Baker

Preference Forms Give Baker Edge

By Naveen Sunkavally


More than one-quarter of incoming freshmen picked Baker House as their first-choice dormitory for temporary housing, according to statistics obtained from preference cards turned in over the summer.

Of the 1025 freshmen in the Class of 2004, 802 freshmen returned their housing preference forms, and 316 of those 802 chose Baker as their first choice. MacGregor House, the next most requested dorm, received 187 first-rank choices.

The freshmen made their selections on a preferences form included with a guide to residences that presented statistics about every living group and short descriptions submitted by each living group. On the form, students were able to rank the dorms for a lottery that would determine their temporary housing assignment during Orientation.

“Baker tends to attract the typical crowd,” said Andrew T. Singleton ’02, rush chair of Baker. “On the outside, we seem like we’re newly renovated [and] a very social dormitory.”

Singleton also attributed part of Baker’s attractiveness to the dorm’s entry in the residence guide.

However, Singleton encouraged freshmen “to get around” and visit other dorms. “Obviously a newly renovated dorm designed by a Finnish architect will appeal” to freshmen, Singleton said.

Freshmen will make their final preferences for their permanent housing assignments in a second lottery that will be run on August 29.

Lottery a test for 2002

Phillip M. Bernard, manager of undergraduate residential services, said the summer housing lottery will serve as a test to see how freshmen change their preferences after arriving on campus.

The preferences of last year’s freshman class for permanent housing were significantly more evenly distributed than the temporary housing preferences of this year’s class. The Class of 2003 ranked MacGregor House as the preferred dorm with 125 first-choice requests and Baker House as second with 120 requests.

In previous years, freshmen were assigned their temporary housing assignments randomly.

“I would be surprised if there are fewer complaints this year than in previous years,” Bernard said. In previous years, Bernard said that he received almost no complaints.

In the end the lottery assigned 592 people, even though 802 people filled out preference forms. The remaining 210 freshmen were assigned by hand either because they were arriving early as athletes or as part of a freshman pre-orientation program, or because they had requested housing in McCormick, Bernard said.

Those who did not fill out preference forms were randomly assigned temporary housing spots in another lottery.

Freshmen requesting McCormick House were assigned separately because this year McCormick House is participating in a residence-based advising pilot program.

In the future, Bernard said that he would like freshmen to be assigned their permanent housing assignments through a summer housing lottery. Then, if freshmen had complaints, they would participate in another lottery that would relocate them to another dorm. This plan is expected to take effect in 2002, when all freshmen are expected to be housed on campus.

In addition, in the future, freshmen are expected to be given a more interactive introduction to residences over the summer, rather than this year’s residence booklet. One of the projects sponsored under Project I-Campus, MIT’s alliance with Microsoft Corporation, calls for creating CD-ROM and web-based resources concerning freshman academics and student life to provide incoming freshmen with more detailed information prior to their arrival on campus.