What is the HASS-D Lottery?
The HASS-D Lottery manages enrollments for some Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) subjects with enrollment caps. If you are interested in any subjects that happen to be designated as “HASS-D”, you should enter the lottery.
Who should enter the HASS-D Lottery?
All students who want to take a HASS-D subject should enter the HASS-D lottery. The only exceptions are subjects that qualify for the HASS-D language option.
Not all HASS subjects are in the HASS-D Lottery, but many of the courses designed for first-year students are HASS-D’s. Also, most HASS-D’s are also CI-H’s, and all HASS-D’s also carry a HASS Distribution designation.
If you are placed in a HASS-D that you later decide not to take, you can easily drop the subject in the online registration system. It is possible to add HASS-D’s after the semester starts, but only if there are spaces available, so entering the HASS-D Lottery is the best way to ensure a place in a class.
How to enter the HASS-D lottery
Continuing students must enter the lottery for Fall 2013 courses between May 1, 2013 and August 19, 2013 (lottery closes at 5PM EST). Go to the pre-registration page on the MIT website and select the HASS-Ds you’re interested in taking. Clicking on each will bring you to instructions for submitting it as a lottery selection. The lottery will assign you only one HASS-D subject a semester, but you may submit up to six choices, in order of preference. Typically, about 90 percent of students receive their first choice.
Incoming freshmen must also enter by August 19 at 5PM EST, using the freshman portal. (This is necessary only for the Fall Lottery. All students enter the Spring Lottery through pre-registration.
Learning the results, and keeping your spot
The Registrar’s Office will post the lottery results for Fall 2013 classes by August 21, 2013. You can view your lottery assignment, along with the rest of your class schedule, on WebSIS, or check your registration. You must attend the first class meeting, or your seat may be given away.
Please note: If the lottery does not assign you a class, WebSIS does not have any special way of indicating that. If your schedule does not have a HASS-D in it after the date listed above, that means you were lotteried out of all of your choices, and you should consult the Open Class List.
If you did not receive your first choice
You are guaranteed a space in that subject the next time it’s offered (until the HASS-D Lottery is phased out in AY2015). Contact the HASS Academic Administrator after preregistration begins, but before the lottery runs; give us your name, ID number, and the first-choice subject you failed to receive last time, and we’ll enroll you. As long as there is no conflict with the rest of your schedule, you’re all set. Please note: You must take this step in order to exercise this option; you will not be automatically assigned.
If you did not lottery into any HASS-D
HASS-D subjects which are still open after the lottery has run are listed on the post-lottery Open Class List. You may enroll in one of them by attending the first meeting and having the instructor sign an add/drop form. This list is not updated after classes have begun; if you want to add a HASS-D at that point, please contact the instructor.
Inside the Lottery—The Algorithm
The lottery algorithm begins by assigning all students to their first choice. Then it randomly pulls students out of each overenrolled subject until the maximum number for each section has been reached. The remaining students are assigned to that subject.
For students who have been pulled out, the algorithm moves down their list of alternate choices, assigning them to their highest-ranked subject with remaining space. If all of a student’s alternate choices are full, that student can enroll in one of the post-lottery open classes by bringing an add/drop form to the first class meeting.
Because the algorithm looks at a student’s alternate choices only after the decision to remove that student from a first-choice subject has been made, entering multiple choices will not reduce your chances of getting your first choice. It will increase your chances of getting one of your preferred HASS-Ds. And if you want to ensure taking a HASS-D that term, it’s a good idea to include among your alternate choices a HASS-D subject that is less likely to be over-enrolled. Doing so will also not reduce your chances of getting your first choice.