College House applications declined significantly this year, as 270 students applied to live in a College House for the 2015-2016 school year. Last year, there were 313 applicants. Thirty additional students started the application but did not complete it. The College Houses offer a combined total of 201 spots. 

This year’s decline represents a 13.7 percent drop in applicants from last year, and a 15.4 percent drop from 2013, when 319 students applied. As is usual, rising sophomores dominated the applicant pool. 

While unable to give the exact number of applicants for each house, Assistant Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Mariana Centeno ’14 did share that Quinby House attracted the most applicants this year, as it did in 2013. In 2014, MacMillan House was the most popular.

Despite the drop in the overall number of applicants, Centeno—who lived in Quinby House for two years while she was a student and now oversees the application and selection process for College Houses—said she was unconcerned. Despite its smaller size, she said, this year’s applicant pool is as strong as ever.

“I’m very impressed with the applications that I’ve gotten to read so far,” she said.  “People have taken them really seriously and some of the programs people have thought of in the applications are fantastic.”

While remaining similar to past years, this year’s application process did include some changes as ResLife continues to tweak the ever-evolving College House system.  For the first time, student blocks had the option to apply to all College Houses in addition to the one to four affiliate houses that they can apply to specifically.

Additionally, the non-binding option was taken away as part of this change. Even if blocks do not get into their first-choice House, students who selected the “any house” option will be bound to live in a College House if they are placed in one.

Centeno said that this change was done to better adjust the application process to the “floating floor” model of first-year floor/College House affiliation that the College started in 2013 as a result of changes to its chem-free housing system.  

Prior to the implementation of the floating floor model, all floors in a first-year residence hall were affiliated with the same College House. Now, each floor is affiliated with a different College House and each house is affiliated with four to five first-year floors. All chem-free floors remain affiliated with Howell House.

Interviews with all applicant blocks will be conducted from February 25 to 27 and again on March 2. Selection committees will meet to deliberate immediately after Spring Break.