December and April Switch Lotteries

Building to Building Switch Lotteries

What is the lottery?

Throughout the school year, the Housing Office runs two lotteries for registered MIT undergraduates who are currently living on campus. One is run at the beginning of December and makes moves for the spring semester and the other is run at the beginning of April in order to make switches for the fall semester.  By running these lotteries, we are able to make a number of switches between buildings for students who are requesting a move.  The lottery is a completely separate process from the waiting list.  Students on the waiting list are not automatically entered, and must opt in.  Students not on the waiting list may enter during the open period as well.  

How does the lottery work?

Students are asked to fill out a lottery application form to indicate both their interest in participating, as well as their understanding that the lottery is binding.  While we make every effort to assign students to their first preference, there is a possibility that a student may get switched into any of the preferences they list on their lottery form.  Once we have a final list of all lottery participants (deadline is early December for the December lottery and early April for the April lottery), we are able to run the lottery. 

Students who had previously been on the waiting list are given priority when making switches in the lottery.  They are processed based on their original date of application, while students who had not previously been on a waiting list are put into a general pool of candidates.  Our goal is to make as many switches as possible amongst the two groups, with an emphasis on ensuring satisfaction with switches made.

If you are reassigned in the switch lottery, you must accept that assignment and move. The intricate, interdependent nature of the housing switch means that all students participating must respect their commitment to move. It is not possible to decline the assignment you receive. Before you apply, please be absolutely certain that you will be willing to respect the results.

A flow chart has been provided here that gives more information on how the lotteries are run.

How do I enter the lottery?

In order to participate in a lottery, the student must be a registered MIT undergraduate who is currently residing in one of our 11 on-campus residence halls.  The student must complete a lottery application form (found below) in order to enter.  A completed form is necessary because each lottery we run is binding.  There is no opportunity to decline a move. 

How does room assignment work?

Room assignments are done internally in each residence hall after the lottery results come out.  Generally, assignments made through the December lottery have less flexibility in terms of room assignment, as there are usually not as many spaces available in the buildings.  Assignments made through the April lottery go through the building's internal room selection process for the fall, giving students a lot more control over their assignment for the current year.  Due to these processes, the lottery does not take into account special requests for room type or location (unless there is a previously approved supplemental request), the lottery functions solely as a way to switch buildings.

Moves granted during the December lottery have a move-in date of January 15th or later, while moves made during the April lottery are for upperclass move-in day in September, unless the student has an early return.  No moves will be able to be made before these dates.


Lottery applications can be found here.