Maseeh Hall was the first-choice dorm for 277 students in this year’s freshmen housing lottery, a 92 percent increase from last year. Approximately 60 percent of the Class of 2019 opted for one of three dorms — Maseeh, Baker, or Simmons — as their top choice, according to data released by MIT’s Residential Life & Dining.
Incoming students entered the lottery in April and ranked all the dorms in order of preference. Like last year, roughly two-thirds of the class received their top pick.
In contrast to previous years, however, fewer students were successful in switching dorms after arriving on campus. The First Year Residence Exchange (FYRE) allows students to enter a second housing lottery after exploring dorms during REX at the start of the year. This year, only 36 percent of those who entered the FYRE lottery ended up switching dorms. But during each of the previous seven years of FYRE and its predecessor program, more than 50 percent of those wanting to move did so successfully.
Matthew Bauer, a spokesman for the Division of Student Life, told The Tech that the smaller relocation percentage was simply due to a disproportionate number of students wanting to move into a few residence halls. Maseeh was the most popular dorm during FYRE, for example, and had 35 people trying to enter while only 6 students wanted to leave.
Maseeh often attracts students for its newer facilities and location on campus.
“I was motivated a lot by sports,” said Aidan Gilson ’19, who runs for the cross-country team. He mentioned proximity to the Z Center and academic buildings, along with the dorm’s dining hall, as deciding factors for him. “Compared to some other dorms, it’s definitely a lot cleaner,” he added.
Students also noted differences between the social environment at Maseeh and other dorms.
Grace Yin ’19, who started in Baker and switched to Maseeh during FYRE, said she found “more solidarity in Maseeh” than in Baker. While she was studying for advanced standing exams at the start of the year, other students were throwing parties with alcohol. “It was a little bit too social for me,” she said, mentioning how — in her experience — she didn’t make many friends there. For Yin, Maseeh was a better fit.
“It’s a good social atmosphere,” Gilson said while speaking about Maseeh. “People do stuff and hang out in the common room, but it doesn’t ever get crazy loud, so I can sleep when I need to.”
In the April housing lottery, Baker saw its position slip from first pick for only the second time in the past 7 years. The last time Baker was not the most popular dorm was in 2012, when Maseeh beat it out after only one year as a dorm. This year, 53 fewer people than last year listed Baker as their top choice. In the FYRE lottery, though, Baker still drew considerable interest, with 29 students hoping to switch to the dorm.
MacGregor House had 38 people trying to leave during FYRE and only five hoping to enter. Although MacGregor has seen a recent decline in interest according to the numbers, MacGregor resident Nina Lutz ’19 (who has written for The Tech) encouraged future students to not “believe the stereotypes” of dorms. During last year’s CPW, Lutz visited every dorm and talked with current students. She stressed how important it was for her to get to know the students since “dorms are so organic because the people change every year.”
Lutz soon “fell in love with the environment” at MacGregor, including its distinct subcultures, single rooms, and lounges, which she said are “really great for community.”
“Look for the feel,” Lutz gave as advice for future classes of MIT.
“Remember that it’s a place you want to live. You can go party anywhere else. You can go visit anywhere else. You can go study anywhere else. But, at the end of the day, where do you want to come home to?”