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Administration should permit non-MIT participation in IAP

After reading that enrollment in Independent Activities Period was declining, I was dismayed. IAP is a unique opportunity for students to pursue interests of their own when they otherwise would not.

I am currently a sophomore

in the College of Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and I know of no college or university, including Cornell, that has such an innovative program.

If enrollment in IAP were declining, surely MIT would not hesitate to increase enrollment (and revenue) by opening IAP to students outside of MIT. After hearing of such vast opportunities existing during IAP from my MIT friends, I decided to write to the IAP office if they could open IAP to students who did not attend MIT.

This would seem like a logical move. By opening IAP to non-MIT students, you would not only increase enrollment, but also provide an environment for non-MIT students and MIT students to interact. How often do MIT students have the opportunity to relate experiences and interests with non-MIT students in the same fields? Not often at all.

So I wrote to Associate Dean for Student Affairs Mary Z. Enterline to inquire about participation in IAP. Her response was as follows: "I appreciate your interest in participating in IAP. Unfortunately, as you are already aware, MIT does not admit special students solely for IAP. Because we have a 4-1-4 calendar year, there is no centralized registration during IAP and we do not set fees for individuals."

Yet Wellesley students are free to register for IAP activities, and their academic year is structured differently than MIT. I urge the IAP department to open IAP to all interested students. This will not only revitalize IAP with an increase in the number of participants, but offer an environment for students from different schools with the same interests to interact and share experiences, as well.

Only good can come out of opening IAP to outside students. It would be a shame if IAP were to be terminated due to a lack of interest from MIT students. I urge MIT students to take advantage of such an opportunity, and hope that this unique and exciting program will be opened to non-MIT students in the future, because IAP, in its MIT form, exists nowhere else in the world except for MIT.

John K. Lin->

Cornell University->

Class of 1993->