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Almost two hundred students learned their housing fates last week with the release of this year’s first round of decisions for fall interhouse transfer applications.
Students may apply to transfer houses after living in their initially assigned house for two semesters, with two rounds of transfer applications available for the fall semester. One hundred and eighty-five students applied to transfer houses for the fall 2023 semester, according to Dean of Students Office spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman.
Goldman did not reply to multiple requests regarding the number of students whose applications were successful.
Brent J. Smith ’25, whose application to transfer from Quincy House to Pforzheimer House with his roommate was approved, said his decision to transfer to the Radcliffe Quadrangle — where Pforzheimer is located — “is definitely unpopular.”
“Every time I tell someone that I transferred from Quincy to the Quad, I get the same reaction, which is like, ‘Oh my gosh, why would you do that?’ — which I get,” Smith said.
“I’ve spent almost every day there anyways because that’s where all my friends are, and I love it there,” he added, referring to the Quad.
Other students attempted to transfer out of the Quad to one of the nine river houses.
Elyse G. Martin-Smith ’25, whose application to move from Pforzheimer to Winthrop House was successful, said she “ranked pretty much every River House” when applying.
“For me to travel with my large tenor saxophone every time I wanted to play music with ensembles was really challenging for me,” she added.
Martin-Smith, who moved from Pfoho’s main building to overflow housing in Cronkhite Center on Brattle St. at the start of this semester, said the shorter commute from Cronkhite suited her better
“Housing has a big impact on how things go for you,” she said. “Moving from Pfoho to Cronkhite has been really great for my mental health.”
For Esha Ahmad ’25 and Crimson editorial editor Labiba Uddin ’25 — both of whom will be moving into Winthrop next year from Pfoho — the “stigma” surrounding the Quad influenced the choice to attempt to transfer.
“I think there’s just too much stigma,” Ahmad said. “I think this is such a deeper-rooted issue.”
“It’s such a Harvard thing,” Ahmad added.
Despite the amenities of Pfoho, Uddin and Ahmad said they did not feel there was much tethering them to the house. The two said they did not apply to transfer together, but both were reassigned to Winthrop.
“The amenities are great; the events are really wonderful, but also the Pfoho faculty deans are leaving, so there wasn’t too much tying us down there,” Uddin said.
Some students also said the transfer process was unclear at times, with little outside assistance.
Cole M. Breen ’25, who unsuccessfully attempted to transfer out of Currier House, said the process was “certainly pretty opaque.”
“The form itself is just a couple boxes,” he said. “Maybe there would have been more help if we sought some, but from what I’ve heard the whole process itself is pretty non-transparent.”
Uddin said the first round of the fall interhouse transfer process felt “random” and should consider an applicant’s reasons for wanting to transfer.
“I just feel that the housing system is so, so random that sometimes there are things that I feel should be taken into consideration other than the accommodations that are made right now,” she said.
Goldman did not respond to a request for comment on the application process.
Kieran J. Farrell ’25 said he was surprised to receive his fourth option, Lowell House. Farrell said he and his roommate assumed that Lowell would be particularly popular, so they ranked it below houses they felt would have more space for transfers.
“I thought it was just super weird that it was even possible,” said Farrell, a Crimson arts editor.
Students may apply to transfer either individually or with one other person — a requirement that can split blocking groups like Breen’s if multiple group members are seeking to transfer.
“Looking forward to that next round,” Breen said. “Hoping I can reunite with the block in Lowell.”
—Staff writer Rahem D. Hamid can be reached at email@example.com.
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