The Housing Market Reviews: A Prospectus


Around this time every year, a crucial question looms over campus. It descends upon uncertain freshmen, who confer and conjecture about it with their blocking groups. It provokes some upperclassmen, hearts aflame with House spirit, to bristle at the smallest slight towards their Houses. Everyone wants to know but claims to know one thing—which of Harvard’s 12 residential Houses is the best?

It's a conundrum that we've tried to tackle before, and some of you loved our conclusions—others, not so much.

But things change: House Masters come and go, House spirit grows and dies, traditions proliferate and fade. So, this year, we decided to revisit the search for the best House on campus.

To start, we invited 12 Crimson editors, one from each residential House, to write a review for their own House. They were asked to comment on the following categories: dining hall, common spaces, rooms, House spirit, and quirks. Each category was awarded a score, which in all cases was assigned pretty much nonsensically (but which you may interpret earnestly if you so desire—just don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Once all 12 pieces were completed, we redistributed them among the reviewers for careful perusal. Only then was each writer asked to submit a list of rankings for the Houses. (Yes, they were required to include their own Houses in these lists, but no, not all of them ranked their own Houses as first.)

We then added the ranking numbers for each House to determine its overall ranking. As this week progresses, we will be posting the House reviews in reverse rank order. You’ll find out which House made it to the top of our list on Thursday.

We hope you’ll agree that we’ve established a fair, if subjective, methodology for this very serious enterprise. Harvard’s House system has often been called the crown jewel of the College, and we agree. So even if we’ve given your House a low ranking this year, it’s probably still a pretty spiffy place to call home, and we're sure the staff and House Committees do a great job cultivating House spirit and making you feel comfortable and welcome.

But that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun with it anyway. So let the countdown begin!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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