Written By: Li Ge
Spoiler alert! This is a personal guide on your on-campus housing selection that focuses on more non-cost related aspects for the 10 months life at MIT with real data. The reason I am writing on this topic is that I was very glad to know one alum who gave me great advice on where to stay. I hope this blog will be helpful for people who do not know anyone from the earlier classes and is currently hesitating as I was.
Before you start reading into this blog, go to the bottom part of it to find links to the official websites(https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing) of MIT graduate housing, where you will find comprehensive information regarding the rent, address, room type, size, furnish type, etc. for residence available on campus. Since this blog is going to share more personal feedback on living experience from the class of 2019, that information will not be included here. First lesson before coming to MIT: do your research. 🙂
Courtyard View of Sidney-Pacific
Now that you are ready to keep reading, let me throw out some statistical data points collected using a survey of the class of 2019. In this survey, 33 out of 42 residential program colleagues shared their housing information, which should be significant enough to tell the real distributions of this class. 88% of us stayed on-campus and no one regretted their decision (Figure 1). 100% of us won the dorm bidding, although not necessarily during the first round, so if there is a rule of thumb, I’d say not to include in your bid any residence hall or room type you do not like.
Figure 1. On/Off-Campus Survey Results
For details about each residence hall, I segmented them below so you can easily find the ones you are interested in. We have a nice distribution among all available buildings this year (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Distribution of on-campus locations – class of 2019
Most favorite residence halls – Sidney-Pacific (SP), Ashdown, Warehouse (Figure 3)
These three buildings are basically next to each other and all have the furnished efficiency room choice available. As you can imagine, they are great places to get together for group projects and parties! The only thing we have been complaining about this year is the distance to the lab, which is the place we spend the most time in – it is a solid 20 minutes’ walk from any of these three halls. The good thing is that we can either ride a blue bike(https://web-cert.mit.edu/facilities/forms_secure/Hubway-NewMembership.pdf) ($35 a year after student discount) as there is a dock downstairs at SP or take the EZ-ride, a free shuttle service on campus. More perks are listed below for these three halls, so if cost is not too big an issue for you or you don’t want to spend too much time on housing research, just put these three halls in your bid!
- Spacious rooms (compared to the other dorms)
- Free events: monthly brunch, intercultural social events, interest groups, free outings (movies, baseball games, ice skating, etc.), dance parties, etc.
- Front desk services (receive/return packages, airbed/tools/iron/game/movie lending, etc.)
- Closeness to colleagues
- 10-minute walk to Central Square (where the closest grocery stores are)
- Everyday trash pickup
- Tuesday trivia night and Thursday Karaoke night (Thirsty Ear bar in Ashdown)
- Queen size bed (only in Warehouse)Figure 3. Pool on the favorite residence halls
Closest to the SCM lab – 70 Amherst
One thing you definitely want to know is that this building, although doesn’t sound like it has a legitimate name, is the CLOSEST non-family residence to classes. However, this might be the only value it adds to the dormitory building. It is a relatively old building and, for single rooms, the bathrooms and kitchens are in the hallway. Also, since most of the class live on the other side of the campus, you may not get to attend many late-night events. There are not many grocery shops nearby, but the Kendall Square subway station is within 5 minutes’ walk. If you are not a morning person and do not pick on living conditions a lot, this could be an ideal place for you to live in.
Known for the not very much appreciated conditions – Tang Hall
Tang Hall is a far place on campus as it’s not as close to classes or to most colleagues or anything else. Since the building is very old, it is not a very fancy place. However, the building is very tall and by the Charles River, so if you are lucky enough, you will have a great view!
This building is about 3 minutes’ walk to the SP neighborhood and is not very popular for our class this year. It is close enough to most activities in this case and also close to Mass Ave. One thing specific to mention is that the 4-bedroom apartment has really spacious living room. It would be a great choice to know more people and host guests.
Family housing – Eastgate & Westgate
If you are planning to come here with families, you would be eligible to live in these family buildings. The conditions are not ideal, but both of them have many family events. Eastgate is literally a one-minute walk to classes and although Westgate is pretty far, it has kids’ playgrounds! Also, both buildings offer daily trash pickup.
In addition to these family buildings, the school has opened some pilots for couples to stay in single rooms. Check those out through the link at the bottom!
Lastly, to quickly touch upon some advice from the current class for off-campus housing search venues, I have listed the most used interfaces below.
- Facebook Boston housing group
Hopefully I have covered the things you would like to know before the bidding process. If there are more questions regarding specific residence halls, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to connect you with someone staying in that building. Good luck getting your first preference on housing!
Official Websites for Graduate On-Campus Housing:
List of Graduate Residences (https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/graduate-residences)
How to Get Housing (https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/get-housing)
New! Couples Housing, Roommate Selection Westgate Efficiency Pilots (https://studentlife.mit.edu/housing/graduate-family-housing/grad-housing-pilots)
Li Ge, SCMr Co 2019