If your father lived in Dunster, you’ll be greeted by a moose on Housing Day.
If your blocking group is on the small side, you’ll be Quadded.
Athletes are destined for Eliot.
Current Matthews residents are bound for Mather.
The children of celebrities and major donors can have their pick of the twelve Houses.
It’s the week of Housing Day at Harvard, and rumors are flying. As freshmen anxiously await the results of the lottery that will assign them to a House come Thursday morning, conspiracy theories abound.
Yet administrators assure students that all of them are untrue. Today, they say, after generations of evolution, Harvard’s ethic of randomization in almost all cases means just that—random.
A CLICK OF THE BUTTON
Around the end of February of their first year at Harvard, freshmen form blocking groups of up to eight classmates, then submit their names online into the housing lottery.
This year, freshmen were required to turn in their blocking groups by 8 a.m. on Feb. 29.
The Office of Student Life, which runs the lottery, spent the rest of the day tracking down the roughly 10 freshmen who did not register on time.
Once all these freshmen were added to a blocking group or registered as floaters, the OSL officially closed the lottery.
Next, the OSL pre-placed the blocking groups of students who registered disabilities ranging from mobility impairment to carpet allergies with the Accessible Education Office into a House that could accommodate their needs. This year, the OSL also randomly assigned a blocking group containing the child of House Masters into one of the nine Houses outside his parents’ neighborhood.
The OSL then determined the number of incoming sophomores that each House could accommodate based on expected attrition.
Finally, at 10:50 a.m. on March 2, Sophia R. Chaknis, the director of residential programs and operations, put on her Sorting Hat—actually donning a Harry Potter prop—then turned to the lottery software on her computer and clicked a button that randomly assigned about 1,600 freshmen to the buildings most of them will live in for the next three years.
Lotteried Classes See Low Admission RatesIt is easier to gain early admission to Harvard College than get into a class with Harry Potter on the syllabus. While Harvard College admitted 18 percent of its early applicants in December, Professor Maria Tatar only admitted 10.5 percent of interested students to her class Folklore and Mythology 90i: “Fairy Tales and Fantasy Literature.”
Few Hit Jackpot In Course LotteriesAs the number of interested students in some already oversubscribed classes continues to grow and Pre-Term Planning data at times fails to accurately predict student interest, professors face the dilemma of how best to accommodate students while still maintaining the quality of their classes.
Senate Candidates Propose Differing Education PlatformsAs voters in the Commonwealth prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday to choose their parties’ nominees for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, they will have to consider a number of education platforms ranging from consensus proposals to uniquely bold new ideas.
With Demand for Popular Courses High, Course Lotteries See Low Admissions RatesFolklore and Mythology 128: “Fairy Tale, Myth, and Fantasy Literature,” which accepted just 31 of 440 interested students, was among many that conducted lotteries over the past week to reduce overcrowding in their classrooms.
The Love Song of An Awkward PrefroshDo I dare to eat these gummy peach rings? What about this Code Red Mountain Dew, these powdered donuts, this Big League Chew? Here are cakes and teas and ices, beef jerky and candy bars and Dos Equis. I stalk their stock, ruffle their wares, leave not a rack behind. Shaq smiles mirthfully from the pastel can of a new line of cream sodas by the Brooklyn-based Arizona Beverages Company. It feels vaguely oppressive. What kind of vittles are these?