Some current students told me to spend a lot of time on my housing application as it is more important than I think. And so I am. I have a few questions and concerns and hope that some current students or whoever knows the answer can clarify for me.
The number of students I prefer to live with: could someone describe how the Harvard suits work? I heard that not every suite has a private bathroom, etc. Do I still have to share a bedroom if we're already sharing the same suit? And what's the minimum number of roommates I need in order to have a private bathroom for our suit? I was thinking of putting down 3 roommates, as they probably will add a couple on top of that. Is it true that it is better to have more roommates in freshmen year?
As for a room that is quiet/serious or neat and disordered: I am a partyboy, and i prefer going out and having people coming over to my room. However, does a lively social center mean my room is really close to say the entrance of the building, or a particular public attraction? or does it mean my roommates will also be very social and party like?
Suites: Not all the freshman dorms have private bathrooms in them. Usually if you have less than 2 other roommates, you'll end up using a hall bathroom, because you'll probably be in Thayer which has 2 to a room, or Hurlbut or Greenough, which has lots of singles and a few double rooms. If you end up with exactly 2 roommates, it means you're probably in Matthews, and you'll be using a hall bathroom.
Those are the only dorms I can think of that don't have mainly private bathrooms (in Holworthy they're shared by 2 suites - hardly akin to a hall bathroom), so to be on the safe side, you want to ask for 3 or more roommates. The only way that might now work is if you get put into Weld Hall, in which there are 5 and 6 person suites - some with private bathrooms, some without.
If you put the highest number possible for lively social center, you probably will have lively, social roommates, and you also stand a good chance of getting put into Pennypacker - the most social dorm and also the furthest away from the yard.
Hope this helps, & I'd be happy to answer any other questions.
Canaday also has hall bathrooms (used by a maximum of around 10 people, if you have two quads and two singles).
There will almost certainly be a shared bedroom somewhere in your suite. The only freshman setups I can think of where this doesn't happen are Canaday (quads and singles), Greenough (singles), Hurlbut (singles) and a few doubles in Matthews. Some of the suites (Holworthy, I think) are just one big common room that also functions as a double bedroom.
If you say you're sociable you'll probably get sociable roommates, but it probably won't affect the location of your suite within the building or the general location of your dorm (there are certain dorms that are more or less sociable--Pennypacker versus Mass Hall, for example--but it's not like the sociable dorms are near the student center and the quiet ones are near the library).
I wouldn't try to game the form. Put down the actual number of roommates you want to have. There are enough quads out there that if you ask for 3 roommates you'll probably get a quad.
>Is it true that it is better to have more roommates in freshmen year?
I don't think that it's categorically better. It is better for someone who, like you, wants a lot of busy social activity. Weld would probably be a good choice for you (6-man suites with 4 bedrooms and a common room). Matthews is also good for party people because the common rooms are huge and the bathroom/entryway setup means you meet a much larger group of people than in, say, Mower or Wigg.
The places I know of with quads are Canaday (looks and feels like a prison, the bells wake you up at 8am many days, but OTOH great location and good chance of getting a suite where you all have private bedrooms), Grays (considered quite desireable, 2 bedrooms and a common room), and Thayer (huge, hallways mean it's sociable, don't know much about the rooms).
Oh, I just remembered that Apley is going out of the lottery this year and Claverly is going in. Clav is probably quite good housing for freshmen (shared rooms in a triple, but frosh have to share rooms anyway most of the time. Far away from Annenberg, but you'll eat in Lowell or Quincy anyway and prefer it.)
Canaday is so ugly... and a little isolated. I don't think I'd mind waking up at 8 w/out even having to set up the alarm clock, but maybe I'll become someone who sleeps in in college. What are Apley and Claverly?
Isolated? It's got the best location of any of the freshman dorms. It's right next to the dining hall, which is HUGE, and also to the Science Center (where you'll be almost certain to have at least one class every semester) and Loker Commons.
Clav's overflow housing for Adams and Lowell. It's down by the river on Mt. Auburn. Dark wood triples with nice window seats. Apley's a small dorm near the river that is IMO very overrated--yes, it's got marble bathtubs or whatever but it also has walkthrough bedrooms.