Harry Potter has captivated entire generations since the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997, drawing readers into a world of magic and wonder. Told through the eyes of a young boy, the breathtaking universe crafted by JK Rowling has established itself as a classic of children’s literature. And one of the most interesting aspects of the Harry Potter universe is Hogwarts: a magical school of ever-changing halls, Quidditch, floating candles, and most of all, learning.
Kids around the world long for Hogwarts acceptance letters, just to see a glimpse of the magic captured in the books and movies. To me, Hogwarts was a fictional escape, a haven of mystery and adventure. And as a kid, I remember being endlessly fascinated by the Sorting system at Hogwarts. So now, for curiosity’s sake, I decided to try to replicate that at OLu: to see how the students and staff would be Sorted.
Upon arriving at Hogwarts, students are Sorted into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each has its own prized traits, sports teams, and dorms; your House is your family within school.
Gryffindor is the house of the brave, the chivalrous, those unafraid to speak their minds. They’re the ones who always speak up, who stand for their morals even when it’s a hopeless battle.
Hufflepuff is not the worst house (contrary to certain opinions I’ve heard around campus). Hufflepuff is the house for those who are loyal and fair; it’s the house for hard workers and determined minds. But it’s not nice—nowhere, in fact, in the Hufflepuff motto are these students called nice. Don’t mistake patience for being soft in Hufflepuffs.
The third house is Ravenclaw. This is not the House of the nerds, or the bookworms without social skills. Ravenclaw is where those who prize learning find themselves—if you value curiosity, creativity, and wisdom, chances are this is your House.
And lastly, Slytherin. Where even to begin? Slytherin is cunning, ambitious, shrewd. Not evil, although that stereotype certainly has a basis within this house. But in its core, Slytherin is a place for those who know what they want and how to get it—also known as determination and resourcefulness.
Think about OLu—the nameless students you pass every day, your peers, your teachers. The Sorting system might not be perfect, but it’s a fun thought exercise to consider. How would you place yourself and your peers within these Houses? That’s the question I sought to answer when I started this study.
A proper scientific study begins with a hypothesis. I predicted 25% splits for each House before collecting data, figuring that the percentage of Lancers in each House would be relatively even. Then, the method: I created an anonymous Google form survey and posted it around campus and in classrooms, receiving over 100 responses—close to 10% of the total Lancer population, a respectable sample size if not an outstanding one.
With the results of the survey, I created three pie charts: one of the total respondents, one of only staff members, and one of only students.
The overall results show a minor skew towards Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and away from Hufflepuff and Slytherin. However, among the staff members polled, 50% are Ravenclaws, well beyond the predicted amount. Moreover, the largest percentage of students identified as Gryffindor. These were some of the most interesting trends in the data, though there’s certainly more to analyze. But what exactly can you make of it as a representation of OLu as a whole?
The answer: not much, really. The overall pie chart shows that the percentages of each House were within 3% of the predicted 25/25/25/25 split, and this is just with a relatively small sample size. Therefore, it’s very likely that if the entire OLu population was polled, the data would be much more evenly distributed than it currently is. But I found the staff’s trend curious: half of the respondents are Ravenclaws, the House that identifies most with lifelong learning, which is a major part of being a teacher. And amongst students, Gryffindors made up the largest proportion of respondents. A major trait within this House is impulsiveness, something that’s found disproportionately within teenagers. So age, too, could play a part in the disparity between these percentages.
There’s a lot more avenues to explore within this concept, but I mostly did this study out of a nerdy curiosity, and for the seven-year-old in me that fell in love with these books. So thanks to everyone who participated in helping me Sort OLu, and I hope you learned a little bit more about Hogwarts along the way!
Photo Credit: Fiction Horizon