Students were notified of College House application decisions for the 2015-2016 school year around 1 p.m. last Thursday, April 2. One hundred and ninety one students were selected from 270 applicants to fill 201 spots in the College House System. Ten of the 26 spots in Howell House remain unfilled. 

“Committees work really hard and give everyone an equal chance,” said Assistant Director of Residential Life Mariana Centeno. “They read all the recommendations and applications and they make the decisions that they do.”

The remaining spots in Howell will be filled during the chem-free housing lottery on April 16. Students selecting Howell during the lottery will be given the opportunity to join the house as a full resident by signing the College House resident contract, or to simply reside in the House as a non-House member. Centeno said that she had already been contacted by many students interested in joining Howell as full members during the lottery process. 

While spots in all other Houses were filled through the normal selection process, there was variation in the number of first-choice applicants each of the eight College Houses received. Centeno said this led to significant disparities in how many applicants each house was forced to turn away. 

Quinby House and Reed House received the most first-choice applicants this year. Centeno also said that there were more female than male applicants. The selection committees sought to maintain balance and diversity in gender, geographic origin and athletic involvement. 

This was the first College House application cycle in which students could select the “any House” option. This option allowed applicant blocks to check a box stating that they were willing to live in any College House, not just their first through third ranked choices. By introducing this option, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) eliminated the ability for blocks to state non-binding choices. More than 150 of the 270 applicants selected the “any House” option. 

While joking that it complicated her job somewhat, Centeno said that the introduction of the “any House” option on the selection process was overwhelmingly positive. Because it gave selection committees larger applicant pools to draw from and therefore more flexibility, she said, diversity was more likely in each house. She also said she believes it made the process fairer for applicants, as any applicant selecting the “any House” option was read by at least two selection committees. 

Although some concern was expressed over the new “any house” option when it was first announced, Centeno said that no students came to her with complaints about getting into a house they didn’t directly apply to. 

Centeno believes this is because she was extremely clear—both in information sessions and on the application—that the choice was binding and applicants took it very seriously. 

Centeno also offered reassurance for students who did not get into a House. 

“This is not the end of the world, this is not the end of the road and you will always find a way to make an impact on the Bowdoin community even if it’s not in this way,” she said. 

Anna-Sophie Faucher ’18, whose block applied to but did not get into MacMillan House, said she was still looking forward to next year. 

“Of course I’m disappointed we didn’t get into a House,” she said. “But plenty of my friends did, and it will be fun to hang out with them at their Houses.”

Student selected to serve as House residents next year largely expressed enthusiasm. 

“I’m going to be living with some of my best friends in an environment that is really unique to Bowdoin,” said Emma Moesswilde ’18, who will be a Ladd House resident next year. “I couldn’t be more excited.” 

Duties for 2015-2016 College House residents will officially begin with spring orientation this Sunday.