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MIT student blogger Ceri R. '16

The Sorting of the Frosh (MacGregor Style) by Ceri R. '16

We don't have a Sorting Hat, but this is how MacGregor does In-House Rush

Because freshmen are beginning to trickle onto campus and moving into their temporary rooms, what better time to talk about housing? Even though there are tens of other resources out there for the general process (notably the housing website) I’ll summarize the experience briefly.

After being admitted to MIT, students are invited to CPW and get to explore all the different dorms on campus. If you officially decide to come here, you receive another wave of information including the i3 videos made by each individual dorm in an attempt to showcase their culture. You get to rank all the dorms by how much you want to live in them (1 through 16), and, after some housing algorithm magic, a couple months later you are assigned a dorm, a room, and possibly a roommate.

Fast forward to today, when the last of the freshmen are moving onto campus for orientation into their temporary rooms. Everyone will get another opportunity to explore dorms through Residence Exploration (REX) events, and you can choose to stay in the dorm you are temped in or try and lottery into a different dorm through the First Year Residence Exchange (FYRE) by submitting an application online by Wednesday, August 27th at 2:00 am. FYRE, like the initial housing lottery, does not guarantee your first choice, but it does give you a chance to change dorms. And after everybody has been assigned to their final dorms (sometime Wednesday), it’s time for In-House/Floor Rush.

Phew. Okay. Now to launch into specifics.

I live in MacGregor (I think this website was updated last year?), and will only be able to talk about our In-House Rush process. If you’re interested in how other dorms work, I’m sure the other bloggers will be more than happy to write about it and/or answer an email!

For starters, MacGregor is divided up into 9 entries: A, B, C, D, E (which are in the tower and considered the ‘highrise’), F, G, H, and J (no I because it’s imaginary, obviously, and considered the ‘lowrise’). After the final FYRE results are out, every freshman that ended up in MacGregor meets in the dining hall at around 7pm and get split up randomly into 10 different groups. Then, current students will lead your group to one of the entries or the housemaster’s suite (located in the lowrise between F and G), and it’s basically one huge meet and greet. You get a quick spiel about the entry from the GRT(s), and then get to talk to people in the entry about what it’s like to live there. In turn, all the upperclassmen are trying to get to know you, or as much as they can find out in a minute or so, before they pass you off to another upperclassman. And after all the freshmen visit all the entries, they rank the entries and the upperclassmen rank you—data which are fed through a MacGregor housing algorithm (favoring the freshman choices) and assign you to your final entry and room.

While this system seems a bit harsh from both perspectives (OHMYGOSH how am I gonna represent myself well in 30 seconds and make myself seem cool/nice/whatever enough to live there?!?! OR jeezum crow why on earth would I try and pass judgment on someone I just met and give them a numerical ranking?!?!), it’s MacGregor’s approach to try and match its residents with the best living group possible.

You see, MacGregor is technically one dorm but has VERY distinct living cultures/people/etc. between entries, almost to the point of being 9 different dorms lumped into one with residents that have a general appreciation for living alone but being part of a larger community.  Even within an entry, we live in suites (5 clusters of 6 rooms that share a kitchen, a small lounge, and a bathroom, plus one 2-person suite), and a lot of times people end up shuffling around over the years to move next door to their friends.

So hey, there are plenty of opportunities to try and find your mini dysfunctional friend group, and don’t worry if it takes some moving around. Personally, I went through FYRE and switched entries during freshman-year IAP before I really found people that I love living with. (Or with whom I love living, for those of you who are concerned about stranded prepositions).

I don’t want to delve into specifics about entry personalities, since it’s not my place to speak about living spaces that I haven’t experienced. If you do have any questions about B-Entry, though, feel free to ask! Or stop by and visit if you’re on campus—I should be around most evenings in our main lounge or nearby. Happy housing!