College House applications, which were due on Sunday, allowed students to apply to any house, regardless of their first-year affiliation. 

Two-hundred and ninety students applied to live in College Houses this year, up from 270 last year, but still well short of the 341 students who applied in 2012. There are 201 living spaces available in the College House system, split among the eight houses. 

MacMillan House received the most applications of any College House for the 2017-2018 academic year with 61. Baxter House was the second-most popular house, followed by Quinby House.

In previous years, students could only apply to live in a house if a member of their block was affiliated with that house as a first year. House affiliations are determined randomly by first-year floor, with the exception that all chem-free floors are automatically associated with Howell House. 

Housing decisions will be announced in early April. The results are non-binding, meaning that students are not required to live in the house that they are accepted to, a departure from the policies of previous years.

Assistant Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Mariana Centeno was one of the people who administered change to the application and decision policy. 

“One of the major reasons I decided to make that [change] is that you’re always struggling to make your block, which meant that sometimes people would end up blocking with people they didn’t really know because they just really wanted to live in Ladd,” said Centeno. “The benefit of the decision to allow people to move outside their affiliations is that it puts the power in the students to say where they want to live.”

Like in previous years, students were allowed to list houses they would like to live in beyond their first choice. But this year, ResLife will create a waiting list for each house, which could allow students to gain a spot in a house if other students decline. 

“The waitlist is now more formalized will create a really robust round two,” Centeno said.

Rhianna Patel ’20 wants live in a College House for the shared living space. 

“I like the camaraderie of a [first-year] floor, and from what I’ve heard from upperclassmen, if you choose to live in, say, Stowe Hall, you don’t interact with many people outside of your roommates,” Patel said.

Tessa Peterson ’20 said positive experiences with College Houses as a first year influenced her decision to apply. 

“I participated in BOC Leadership Training in the fall, and a lot of my closest sophomore friends live in College Houses and have [had] a really positive experience there, so I felt very welcomed into the College House fold,” she said. “I enjoy the small insular community and living with my friends. There are drawbacks like the lack of privacy or the responsibility for the space, but otherwise I was able to see a lot of positives. Having a space to hold events and be a community ... was a pretty big deal for me.”