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Fifteen Percent Enter Adjustment Lottery Lottery Results Made Available Last Night, Followed by In-House Rush in Dormitories

By Marissa Vogt

Four years after the first freshman class required to live on campus arrived at MIT in the fall of 2002, the housing adjustment lottery system appears to have settled into place. The percentage of the freshman class requesting a move in the adjustment lottery remained nearly constant this year — 15.0 percent of the Class of 2010 entered the lottery compared to 15.7 percent for the Class of 2009. That percentage was an increase over the low of 12.8 percent for the Class of 2008.

Results of the lottery were made available to freshmen yesterday evening. Many dormitories subsequently held meetings and in-house rush events to welcome their new residents.

Associate Dean and Director of Housing Karen A. Nilsson said that additional data on the adjustment lottery, including numbers of freshmen requesting to move into or out of individual dormitories, will be available today. The percentages listed above do not take into effect the number of freshmen in each class that are ineligible for the adjustment lottery because of Residence-Based Advising. Data from the past five years can be found in a table on page 9.

Administrators and students, including officers for the Dormitory Council, say that the percentage of freshmen who enter the adjustment lottery each year can be used to measure the effectiveness of Campus Preview Weekend, housing materials sent to freshmen during the summer, and Residence Exploration, held during orientation.

Dormcon President David A. Nedzel ’07 said that a smaller percentage of freshmen entering the adjustment lottery can indicate that freshmen are receiving more information about housing ahead of time, which he said has its advantages. He also said that even if freshmen choose to stay in their temporary assignment, REX allows freshmen to familiarize themselves with the other cultures in the dormitories that are present at MIT and to convince themselves that the place they chose over the summer is the right fit.

Dormcon REX Chair Sarah C. Hopp ’08 called REX a “success,” and said that the freshmen who moved often did so across campus, overcoming what she called a “drastic culture difference” between East and West campus.

The housing adjustment lottery began on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 12:00 p.m., before Orientation officially began on Sunday, Aug. 27. However, Nilsson said that it was “unlikely” that students were not on campus by Aug. 24, citing summer programs such as Interphase and pre-orientation programs.

She also said that since 2002 MIT has done a better job of showing off the non-academic sides of MIT during CPW and the percentage of incoming students that attended CPW has increased every year. By the time freshmen arrive on campus “I think … they’re ready to make a decision” about where to live, Nilsson said.

Nedzel said that the decision to again hold CityDays on the Friday of Orientation was beneficial, but the new math diagnostic test provided an “interruption” to REX. CityDays, which has traditionally been held on Friday, was moved to Monday last year so that the event would not conflict with Labor Day weekend.

Hopp said that she wished more freshmen — up to 20 or 25 percent of the class — would enter the adjustment lottery, but that she would only be worried if the number dropped to 5 percent of the class. However, if the number of students entering the lottery grew to 400, or approximately 40 percent of the class, that could signify that MIT is not doing its job in helping students make the decision of where to live, Nilsson said.

“The adjustment lottery is not the end,” Nilsson said, offering encouragement to student who might not have been reassigned in the lottery. Those students will have opportunities to rush Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups and can be placed on a waitlist for spaces that may become available in the dormitories, she said. “We’re all about choice.”

The housing adjustment lottery closed on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and results were made available last night. The lottery is run by the Housing Office in partnership with Information Services and Technology.