The results are in for last week's most highly anticipated competition following the Oscars: with 63 applicants for its 22 single rooms, Ladd House was the most popular among students applying to live in College Houses for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Overall, the College House system had a watershed year: 341 total applicants for 206 spots. This record-breaking number of applicants translated into an increase in applications for every single house, as over 100 more students applied to live in College Houses this year in comparison to last year, when 238 students applied.

MacMillan House came in a close second to Ladd, with 62 applicants for its 26 beds. Baxter House placed third with 60 applicants for 32 spots, while 50 students applied for 28 spots in Reed House. The top four College Houses were followed by a substantial drop off, however: Quinby House fielded only 36 applications for its 24 beds.

Rounding out the list were Helmreich House—29 applicants looking to fill 23 spots—and chem-free Howell House, which received 26 applications for its 27 spots. Burnett House was the least popular, with only 15 applying for 23 open beds. All numbers represent students' first-choice indications.

"Everybody is up by a lot. Even Burnett House is up," said Assistant Director of Residential Life Chris Rossi. Burnett House attracted a mere 13 interested applicants last year.

Baxter House enjoyed the most dramatic increase in popularity, jumping from last year's 37 applicants to 60.

According to Rossi, the 341-person applicant pool comprised 173 males and 168 females, representing a relatively even gender split which has been customary in recent years.

Eighteen of the applicants, or about 5 percent, are returning students. The returning student statistic implies all applicants who have ever lived in a College House before; it includes rising seniors who lived in a house their sophomore year but may not have necessarily lived in a College House this year.

Rossi said that on average, approximately 10 percent of College House residents apply to return. There were 27 returners last year. As most College House residents are sophomores, Rossi cited the popularity of study abroad in junior year as the predominant cause behind the dearth of returner applications.

Rossi explained that ResLife tries to balance the value of the institutional knowledge provided by returning students with the benefits of reinvention.

"There is something to having a house injected full of new blood," he said.

The changing popularity of the different houses has caused plenty of speculation.

"Ladd is generally pretty high because people like singles, and sometimes it does have to do with the physical attributes of the building as far as how applicants are distributed," said Rossi. "But I'd say that's over-determined because that's only one of many considerations. People tend to develop affection by some sort of a relationship with the house."

First year Matt Mathias '14 currently lives in West Hall, which is affiliated with Baxter House, but chose to apply to live in Ladd House instead.

"I think Baxter kind of has a reputation of being all athletes, and that didn't really appeal to me," he said. "Being an athlete myself, I kind of wanted to hang out with some different people." Mathias plays on the men's basketball team.

"I [also] probably spent more time in Ladd over the course of this year than I [did] in Baxter," he added.

Duncan Taylor '14, a first year who applied to Baxter House, cited both its physical attributes and the social atmosphere of the house as the reasons behind his decision.

"It's in a good location, it's an absolutely beautiful house; it's also a place I spent a lot of time this year," he said.

Rossi was particularly excited about the size of the applicant pool for Howell House, which had 26 applicants interested in 27 spots.

"I feel great about that actually," he said. "That was a huge goal of mine...I really wanted Howell to have enough applicants."

"[In the past] we've had trouble attracting...students who are interested in chem-free housing to consider Howell as an option," added Rossi. "This year that hasn't been the case...and I can directly attribute that to the house officer team over there."

College House applicants are currently participating in mandatory group interviews. The group interview is the last step in the application process until final decisions are mailed out to student mailboxes on Monday, April 4.