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Rotation FAQs

Rotation 101

Rotation is the formal 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 on a House to House basis in different, more informal ways.

First year students, transfer students, and exchange students are all eligible to participate in Rotation.

This year, Rotation will take place between September 20th - 27th, 2023. House assignments will be announced on September 30th, 2023, and students are projected to move into their permanent rooms on October 1, 2023.

There will be dinners on each day of Rotation. Houses will also hold house events and desserts (evening reception) throughout Rotation. Additionally, on Saturday and Sunday, there will be lunches as well as dinner. You will receive a personalized schedule for attending daily Dinners/Lunches. There will also be two "Free" dinner opportunities where you can choose which House dinner you would like to attend. 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. This will help you can decide how to rank the Houses when you fill out your preferences on the last day.

No. You will live in the same room for all of Rotation, and move once Rotation is complete.

Faculty are aware of the rotation dates and process. Rotation historically always overlaps with the first week of fall term academic classes, so your Fall term professors are very likely aware of the time and energy involved in Rotation! However, Rotation is not a sufficient excuse for attendance or submission issues, so please prioritize your academic work.

This form is to report potential cases of concern to the Rotation Concerns Committee. Alternatively, you may report this same information to anyone on the IHC or to any Dean, an RA, or an RLC. You may also ask questions through this form.

Cases of concern can be anonymously reported or self-reported, for reasons including but not limited to: experiencing disconnection from the Rotation process, individual/specific needs regarding House affiliation that are not being addressed, discomfort with an individual or situation, or any suggestions for assisting members of the Rotating class to affiliate successfully.

Information from this form will be shared with the Rotation Concerns Committee. For confidential resources, please reach out to the Counseling Center (626-395-8331, press 2 when prompted for after-hours support). You are also welcome to reach out to Pilar Montenegro ( the Campus Sexual Violence Advocate and a confidential resource.

Rotation Options

Yes. You are always welcome to participate in any rotation events and dinners, and you will be able to choose to receive a house affiliation in the End-of-Rotation form due the night of the last day of Rotation. If you choose to be affiliated with a house in the End-of-Rotation form, you will receive a full house membership to one of the houses when rotation assignments are announced, and become an affiliated member of that House living in Bechtel.

Yes. If you don't want to participate in the rotation process and become affiliated with a house, you will be able to opt-out of the House system at Caltech and be placed in Bechtel unaffiliated in the End-of-Rotation form. The End-of-Rotation Form will be released mid-way through rotation and be due at 9:30am on the last day of rotation. On the form, you will have the option to check a box indicating that you would like to remain unaffiliated and be placed in Bechtel. While we want to accommodate any request to opt out of rotation, there may not be enough unaffiliated beds for everyone who wishes to opt out. If necessary, we will create a waitlist for Bechtel. For questions about the opt out process, please contact Felicia Hunt ( You are still welcome to participate in any rotation events and dinners, even if you want to opt out of rotation.

Yes! You are welcome to join a house at any time during 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. If you decide not to receive a house affiliation through rotation, you are welcome to get a membership in the houses you are interested in through their own membership processes.

If you have any questions about the process to gain membership in a specific house, please reach out to their House Secretary for more information.

No part of Rotation is mandatory. We want you to attend the events that interest you and help you make the decision that is right for you. You are welcome to attend everything, and it can be helpful to see as many options as possible. But you are not required to attend anything. That being said, we encourage everyone to give every residence a fair chance! By attending each residence's events, students get a more representative perspective of what this campus is about. Regardless of your choice to attend events, we do recommend using the time during rotation to get to know students on this campus, from upperclass students across residences to your fellow first year student.

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! You are welcome to email ORE at

House memberships

The Rotation process is only for affiliation in one house only. You can apply to join another House (or multiple others) after Rotation.

Yes. 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 also have the ability to drop any of your house memberships at any point by contact your House Secretary.

If you have any questions about the process to gain membership in a specific House, please reach out to their House Secretary for more information.

No, there are processes in place to drop (and add) House memberships, which you may participate in after rotation.

If you have any questions about the process to drop or gain membership in a specific House, please reach out to their House Secretary for more information.

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!

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, Equity & Title IX Advocates, ARC representatives, SURF ambassadors, teaching assistants, and generally amazing sources of advice for succeeding at Caltech.

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. Social memberships generally allow you to participate in social events held by your House. Full memberships, along with participating in House events, allow you to vote and participate in your House's roompicks.

Rotation Events

Please attend the House reception that you are assigned to attend based on the calendar we assign you. However, for Free dinners, desserts, and Big Events, you are welcome to visit any of the houses.

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 dinners, so you are best informed to make your ranking at the end of Rotation.

If you have to miss a Dinner/Linner, email Emma (, the IHC Secretary, as soon as possible if you want to reschedule. If you have to miss any House events or Desserts, don't worry about it, they're completely optional but you're encouraged to go.

You can stop attending Rotation events at any time, and check the box stating that you do not desire a House affiliation in the End-of-Rotation survey after the survey is released.

Two dinners during rotation are free dinners, meaning you can attend the dinner of any house you want. Use these as an opportunity to see Houses again or make up for any dinners you may have missed. Just remember to let us know if you're missing an official dinner so we can know to expect you at the free dinner!

Caltech Dining Services (CDS) is very accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions. You can email if you need to request special meals. Feel free to ask any upperclassman about food options. They'll point you in the right direction.

Rotation Advice

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.

We ask during the Rotation period that our Rotation Rules are followed so that everyone, especially you, will be able to have a great experience in getting to know all of the houses. The full list of rules can be found here.

Violations of Rotation Rules should be reported to the IHC here.

House Selection After Rotation

Near the end of rotation, everyone will receive a survey. This survey is due at 10:00pm on the last day of Rotation (Wednesday, September 27). 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 are allowed to rank Houses as the same number.

After the Rotation algorithm is run and assignments are finalized, we will give you your assignments. As per tradition, assignments will be given out on the Saturday after Rotation is over. At 5pm the cannon fires, and then your assignments will be shared with you. Once you receive your assignment, you will also be given welcome event information for your new House or Bechtel (if you rotate into Bechtel but have also been assigned a House membership, we encourage you to also join your House's welcome activity).

A matching algorithm is used to prioritize 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. Refer to here for a detailed description of how the Rotation algorithm works.


During room selection, if you are affiliated with a House you will be able to participate in the house lottery process for that House or in the unaffiliated process. Thus, House affiliation will not restrict your housing options, but provide an additional option.

If you are placed into a House, then roompicks for "permanent" rooms will be run by that House's Excomm on the evening of Saturday, September 30th. Each House has its own roompicks procedure for incoming students. On the day Rotation results are announced and new students receive their House assignments, they will work with their new Houses to decide room arrangements.

If you are placed into Bechtel (unaffiliated or with a House affiliation), then roompicks will be run by the Bechtel RLC on Saturday, September 30th, at 10pm. See the questions in the Bechtel subsection of the FAQ for more information on Bechtel roompicks.

Sunday, October 1st is moving day. Students will have all day Sunday to move into their new room assignments. Room Move forms will be sent via email from the Housing office. Students should submit their forms by the posted deadline. Upperclass students should be around to help move - just ask!

After you have rotated into a House or Bechtel (unaffiliated or with a house affiliation), you will pick your "permanent" room. This will be your permanent room assignment for the rest of the academic year.

If you have an issue in regards to the permanent room assignment in the House/residence you have rotated into, or have any additional questions or concerns about this topic, please contact the IHC ( or the ORE (


Although we certainly welcome students with house affiliations to live in Bechtel, a membership/affiliation is not required to live in the Bechtel Residence as it is in the Houses. In the suite-style living environment, students often find that they can create smaller communities within the larger Bechtel community. We encourage students to create an experience that works for them and to engage academically and socially in ways that are comfortable for them.

The Bechtel Residence offers 4, 6, 8 & 12-bed suites, as well as a number of standalone single suites. Each multi-room suite has a common living space, including shared bathrooms, a refrigerator, table, seating and storage space. Individual rooms are furnished with a bed, desk, chair, drawer and wardrobe. The standalone single suites are rooms with private bathrooms.

The Bechtel Residence has three common kitchens available for use. The kitchens are equipped with standard appliances such as stove/oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerators, as well as counter and seating space. Kitchens also have common cooking tools available for shared use.

In addition to the kitchens, there are also several common lounges and study rooms available. There is a ping pong table, a foosball table, as well as a board game closet. All lounges and study rooms also have whiteboards and writing supplies. Two of the four study rooms are equipped with printers for shared use.

Bechtel also has four active laundry rooms, each with multiple washers and dryers, as well as community vacuum cleaners and ice machines. Laundry rooms are located on each floor.

Students are provided with the opportunity to pick from a list of available suites/rooms through a room picks process facilitated by the Office of Residential Experience and Housing Office. More information will be provided when the room pick process is set to begin.

There are 6 Resident Associates (RAs) living in the Bechtel Residence. RAs are current Graduate Students who bring a variety of experiences, training and knowledge to the role! Bechtel also has Peer Advocates (PAs), who are well-trained and experienced upperclass students who are prepared to provide advice, support and activities throughout the year.

In addition to the RAs and PAs, the Bechtel Residence also has one live-in Residential Life Coordinator (RLC), who is a Masters level professional staff member, as well as two Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) families!

Programs and activities in Bechtel are hosted by Resident Associates (RAs), Peer Advocates (PAs), Faculty in Residence (FIRs) and the Residential Life Coordinator (RLC). Students are also encouraged to bring up their own event ideas. Events and programs in the past have included: Movie nights, Paint and craft events, Yoga on the courtyard lawn, Midterm and finals goodie bags, Bubble soccer, Baking events, Sports game viewings, Suite crawls, Game nights, Cooking events and much more!