Rotation January 2021
Rotation is the formal, algorithm-driven process for joining a house. It is only available during a student's first year and enrolled students cannot defer rotation and participate in a later year. After rotation, you are still free to become a member of other houses, though all membership decisions are made house by house in different, more informal ways.
Rotation will take place January 4 - 13, 2021. Final house affiliation information will be shared the following week when it is available. We will keep you posted.
Rotation this term does not mean we have made decisions about spring term. In fact, we do not yet know what spring term and spring term housing will look like. However, if there is spring term on campus housing assignments will not be made based off of house affiliations.
During rotation there are receptions and activities. You will receive a personalized schedule for attending daily receptions, which are house specific and provide the opportunity to speak to upperclass students in the house in smaller groups and during activities. The larger weekend events activities are larger events to showcase elements of a house's culture and provide a larger-scale view of the house. At all rotation activities upperclass students will work hard to make sure you are able to feel comfortable, meet people and get to know the house. That way you can decide how to rank the house when you fill out your preferences on the last day.
Yes, you are welcome to join a house at any time in your Caltech career. This is done by working directly with the house. While the membership process differs slightly between houses, this usually involves getting to know the house and its members by attending their dinners and open events, then announcing your membership application at dinner. After this, each house has its own internal voting process. If you decide that you would not like to receive a house affiliation through virtual rotation but would be interested when we return to campus, the IHC can also collect your name and information and share it with the houses, but you must still apply to the houses you are interested in through their own membership processes--you will not be permitted to rank the houses as part of next year's rotation.
Students who opt not to join a house are able to get involved in community and residential leadership in Bechtel and are able to build a residential community with their friends in the suites, alleys and halls in unaffiliated housing. Our residential life team can help here too!
The rotation process is only for affiliation in one house only. You can apply to join another house (or multiple others) after rotation.
You will only get one house affiliation through rotation, but you can join as many houses as desired by applying for membership. This process differs between houses, but generally involves attending dinners and open house events to get to know the house and members better then announcing your application during a dinner. Each house has its own internal process for deciding to confer membership.
You are welcome to opt out of the rotation process, or drop your membership after receiving your house affiliation at the end of rotation. However, we always recommend giving the houses a chance!
Several (but not all) houses have two membership tiers--social and full. The process of rotation is to gain full house membership, but if you choose to apply to join other houses after rotation, you can choose to apply for a full or social membership based on which one suits you best.
No, there are processes in place to drop (and add) house memberships, which you will be allowed to go through after rotation.
Being a member (full or social) of a house allows you to participate in the events that house puts on. These range from institute-wide (such as Interhouse Parties); ski, beach or desert trips; family style dinners on weekdays; and house traditions that have been passed down over Caltech's long history. Full members may choose to live in the house they have membership in, even if they did not rotate into that house. Houses are also an academic resource and a support structure--each one has upperclass students who are Peer Advocates, Health Advocates, ARC representatives, SURF ambassadors, teaching assistants, and generally amazing sources of advice for succeeding at Caltech.
You are not required to attend any of the events for rotation. That said, we recommend attending at least one event for each house, especially the house receptions, so you are best informed to make your ranking at the end of rotation.
Please attend the house reception that you are assigned to attend based on the calendar we assign you. This calendar will be available on January 4th.
We have arranged alternate timezone receptions for students whose calendars are not compatible with their sleep schedules. The timings for these receptions are on the calendar as well as below. If you are still unable to attend these events, please reach out to the IHC and we will work something out for you!
The alternate timezone events on the calendar provide an alternate calendar for international students and/or students in different timezones to attend, if they are unable to attend a house reception on their schedule due to timezone issues. Not all houses have an alternate timezone reception, as the schedule has been designed to allow for each house to have at least one reception at a time where surveyed international students are best able to attend (which includes regular reception and makeup reception times as well). The alternate timezone schedule is available below:
- Wednesday 1/6 12-1pm - Avery
- Thursday 1/7 12-1pm - Fleming
- Friday 1/8 12-1pm - Page
- Saturday 1/9 Normal 12-1pm- Ricketts
- Monday 1/11 12-1pm - Dabney
- Tuesday 1/12 12-1pm - Ruddock
- Tuesday 1/12 Makeup 9-10pm - Lloyd
- Wednesday 1/13 Makeup 12-1pm- Blacker
If you miss one of the house receptions and would still like to learn about that house, we have two make-up Receptions at the end of the week that you are welcome to attend. You can also attend the alternate timezone reception for that house. If you miss a weekend house event, the same event will be run on both Saturday and Sunday so you can plan to attend one or both of the days for full coverage.
You can stop attending rotation events at any time, and check the box stating that you do not desire a house affiliation at the end of rotation ranking survey.
Faculty are aware of the rotation dates and process. However, rotation is not a sufficient excuse for attendance or submission issues, so please prioritize your academic work.
You are not required to go to the makeup receptions if you miss a reception, but we recommend it so that you are best informed to make your final ranking. You can also attend the alternate timezone event for that house as well, if the timing is more convenient for you.
Feel free to join! That said, there is no obligation to do so and not joining a makeup reception for a house whose reception you have already attended will not negatively affect your house affiliation.
House Selection After Rotation
After rotation everyone will receive a survey. At that time you can opt into house membership by ranking the houses that you like and see yourself joining, or opt out by selecting the box stating that you would not like a house affiliation at this time. If you do choose to submit a ranking, you must rank all the houses.
You need to rank all the houses.
As soon as possible the following week. We will keep you posted.
The Interhouse Committee (IHC) monitors a matching algorithm that prioritizes first year rankings and factors in house preferences to determine optimal affiliation for the first year class. The selection process is usually constrained: there are only a limited number of openings in each house, and it is impossible to simultaneously meet the preferences of all of the first year students and houses.
During room selection, if you are affiliated with a house you will be able to participate in house lottery process or in the unaffiliated process. Thus, house affiliation will not restrict your housing options, but provide an additional option.
Yes, all first and second year students are guaranteed on-campus housing.
Yes, participating in virtual rotation does not lock you into any housing commitments. If you receive a house affiliation, you can participate in the house lottery as well as the unaffiliated housing lottery.
Yes, you can talk to other first year students about your experiences in the houses. We generally do not advise sharing your rankings.
Upperclass students are discouraged from sharing their rotation rankings with first year students.
If you see something concerning or feel uncomfortable during rotation, you are encouraged to reach out to anyone in the Office of Residential Experience (ORE), including RAs, and RLCs, or anyone on the IHC. The Deans, Counseling Center, and Title IX office are also available to you throughout your time at Caltech.