Students hoping to live in one of the eight College Houses face competitive odds yet again.

Residential Life received its second-highest number of applications ever for College Houses, with 295 students vying for 200 spots.

While the number of applicants is down from last year's 346, Assistant Director of Residential Life Chris Rossi indicated that this year's applications are more evenly distributed among the eight houses.

"Last year we had a few houses with very high concentrations of applicants and some houses with maybe just a few over the number of beds," said Rossi.

Rossi cited the example of Burnett House, which received a mere 15 applications for 23 spots last year.

"That number doubled this year," he said.

Ladd House led the number of applicants once this year by a fairly wide margin, according to Rossi. Baxter House and Helmreich House were the second and third most popular houses, respectively.

Rossi also indicated that Howell House has continued to experience an "upwards trajectory" in the number of applicants. He credited the increase in applications to programming conducted by the house's current members, referring in particular to Howell House's successful red carpet event last semester.

A few College Houses experienced a slight decrease in the number of applicants. The decrease was not dramatic, however, and Rossi re-emphasized the overall wide distribution of applications among the eight houses.

"That tells me that the College House system is appealing to people, not just a particular house," he said.

Residential Life declined to give the Orient the exact number of applications received for each house, noting that last year's publication of the statistics heightened anxiety among applicants.

David Steury '15, who lives in Appleton Hall and is an affiliate of Quinby House, said that he is applying to live in Quinby because of his positive experiences with the house this year.

"It's really nice to have a social structure that gets freshmen involved in campus activities, and I'd like to be a part of that structure, but on the other side," wrote Steury in an email to the Orient. "Plus, more simply, it seems like a lot of fun. Who doesn't want to live in a huge house with a bunch of their friends?"

Emily Weinberger '15, who is applying to live in Reed House, said that she would also like to get involved in campus programming.

"It's exciting to me to be able to host campus-wide events and bring people together who wouldn't normally cross paths," she said.

The Office of Residential Life will begin interviewing applicants today. In a change from previous years, the Office will conduct 15-minute interviews with blocks of up to four students rather than larger group interviews.

Though the interviews will be shorter, "the block has more of a chance to make a lasting and thoughtful impression," said Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon.

The block will be responsible for pitching a programming idea to the evaluators, which will include a residential life member and a faculty or staff member from a department on campus.

The Office of Residential Life will mail final decisions to student mailboxes on Monday, April 2.