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Splash Fall 2018 is DECEMBER 1-2, 2018!

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For Splash Students

For Splash Teachers and Volunteers



Phase Zero (Registration Lottery) FAQs
  1. What is phase zero/the registration lottery?
  2. Why are you adding phase zero to the Stanford Splash student registration system now? Isn't registration complicated enough as it is?
  3. How does this impact the per-grade registration capacity system?
  4. Can you make an exception for my student(s)?
  5. Can you make exceptions for siblings or close friends?
  6. Does being in a lottery group affect registration during the class lottery and FCFS phase?
  7. Won't there be a certain number of students that register but don't show up? Can you put me/my child on a waitlist?
  8. How does this affect financial aid?
  9. What are my chances of getting selected?
  10. How do you calculate the grade capacities?
  11. How does the lottery algorithm select students?

1. What is phase zero/the registration lottery?

Since Splash Fall 2016, we have been implementing a new phase of student registration that will take place before the class lottery phase (Phase 1). This new phase is termed "Phase Zero" and represents a student lottery that will make our program registration system more fair. Any student that submits interest to the program before the end of phase zero will receive a lottery ticket. We will then select a random portion of these tickets that will then have guaranteed entry into the program. The class lottery and FCFS phases remain as they have been in previous programs. Only students selected in the registration lottery may proceed to register for classes, and, as always, we do not accept on-site registration.

2. Why are you adding phase zero to the Stanford Splash student registration system now? Isn't registration complicated enough as it is?

Recently, demand for our program has overwhelmed the effective supply. Furthermore, despite our best efforts, our website is unable to handle the load that has become customary during the lottery phase. After discussing a number of options, we decided this was the most fair way to maintain our current Splash system but also maintain an equal chance for anyone to attend. Phase zero will be open for a number of days, and it will not matter at all when students submit their interest in the program. Hopefully this will also reduce the load on our website, making for a smoother and easier program registration system.

3. How does this impact the per-grade registration capacity system?

We are still implementing per-grade registration capacities, and this will be enforced during the lottery drawing. Therefore, all students within a single grade level have an equal chance of getting chosen for the program, but students from different grade levels may have different chances of getting chosen.

4. Can you make an exception for my student(s)?

Running a volunteer program with roughly 2000 admitted students means we are unable to grant case by case exceptions for students. All students must enter the registration lottery if they would like a chance to attend our program.

Note: Students in programs assisted by our Outreach Committee do not need to enter the registration lottery.

5. Can you make exceptions for siblings or close friends?

All students must enter the registration lottery. However, for siblings and close friends, we have implemented a "group" option. In this case, the first student will need to create a new lottery ticket, then the other members of the group need to join that existing lottery ticket using the first student's username. After this, the group as a whole will receive a single ticket for the registration lottery. Please note that, due to different capacities for each grade (see #3), the chance of getting in as part of a group will be determined by the most in-demand grade level represented within that group. However, if all students in a group are in the same grade level, or are in lower-demand grade levels, being in a group should not affect the group members' chances of being selected for the program. Additionally, we can only permit groups of up to 4 students.

6. Does being in a lottery group affect registration during the class lottery and FCFS phase?

Being in a lottery group has no affect on registration after the student lottery. Any students that were selected from the student lottery may register for whichever classes they would like, whether or not they were in a group for the student lottery.

7. Won't there be a certain number of students that register but don't show up? Can you put me/my child on a waitlist?

Yes, it is correct that some students will register now but will later decide not to attend, so we have taken this into account when calculating the grade capacities (using the attendance statistics from previous programs). Therefore, we are not maintaining a waitlist.

8. How does this affect financial aid?

This new policy will have no effect on financial aid. Any students that are selected for the program will have the chance to apply for financial aid during the FCFS phase.

9. What are my chances of getting selected?

A student's chances of getting selected are dependent on grade level and are program-specific (each program has a different number of classes students can take). However, for reference, here are the statistics from Splash Fall 2018:

Grade # in Lottery # Accepted % Accepted
8 591 250 42
9 570 400 70
10 505 476 94
11 237 219 92
12 112 105 94

10. How do you calculate the grade capacities?

Our grade capacities, which determine how many students we can accept for each grade through our phase zero lottery, are calculated using data on the classes that are available for students to take through our program. We account for the minimum and maximum grades of each class and the number of open seats in each class to calculate the capacity for each grade within each class, and then we sum those capacities to get the grade capacities for the entire program. We also take into account the greater interest from middle schoolers by weighting the per-class capacities towards lower grades when the class covers those grades. We tweak these weightings until we are able to accept the greatest number of students given the applications to the student lottery. For example, for a class for 7-9th graders that has a capacity of 30 students, we might allot 15 seats to 7th graders, 10 seats to 8th graders, and 5 seats to 9th graders.

11. How does the lottery algorithm select students?

The lottery algorithm randomly shuffles all of the lottery tickets and then picks from the top of the stack until the program is full. If the capacity for a particular grade has been reached, the algorithm will ignore any remaining lottery tickets with students from that grade. The entire algorithm is open source, which you can view here.



Last modified by willgearty on Nov. 11, 2018 at 02:50 p.m.