On-Campus Housing: The System and Assignments

All freshmen are assigned to dormitories by the Freshman Dean’s Office during the summer months prior to their enrollment. They live in one of seventeen dormitories in or near Harvard Yard and take their meals in Annenberg Hall. The dormitories are divided into three areas, each headed by a Resident Dean. These Deans, each with a staff of two senior proctors and several resident proctors, oversee the academic progress and personal welfare of the students in their area. The Dean of Freshmen and his staff coordinate and monitor this system through the Freshman Dean’s Office at 6 Prescott Street.

Each spring, current freshmen are assigned to one of the twelve residential Houses by a random lottery system. The features of the process are publicized well in advance of the lottery’s administration by the Office of Residential Life, University Hall, Ground Floor North.

Resident upperclass students live in one of the twelve residential Houses. The House System is the product of the vision of Abbott Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard from 1909 to 1933, and is based on the model of Oxford and Cambridge Colleges. Each House accommodates 360-490 students and has a dining hall, common rooms, and facilities for academic, recreational, and cultural activities. House Masters are responsible for the overall management and wellbeing of the House community. As members of its Senior Common Room, each House also has an Allston Burr Resident Dean, faculty associates, tutors, and affiliates, some of whom reside in the House. Students with questions about the tutors’ roles should consult the job descriptions in the House Offices. A program of seminars, social service activities, plays, concerts, lectures, special dinners and parties is sponsored by each House. Houses also field a variety of sports teams that compete in an intramural program. In effect, each House forms a small academic and social community within the larger context of the College and University. A thirteenth House, Dudley House, serves non-resident students and also has graduate student members. A freshman who decides to move off-campus for their sophomore year will automatically be affiliated with Dudley House.

House affiliation and residence for exchange students are determined by a random lottery prior to the student’s arrival.