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Prefrosh Arrive for Preview Weekend

By Frank Dabek
News Editor

The coming of spring heralds the return of flowers, warmth, birdsongs, and prefrosh. Approximately 415 admitted women and underrepresented minority students will be attending this year's Campus Preview Weekend, which runs from Saturday to Tuesday, an all-time high according to CPW coordinator and Assistant Director of Admissions Yvonne M. Romero '93. Women make up three quarters of those attending the weekend.

This year's CPW features several new events such as a residence fair to inform prefrosh about possible living options, as well as a choice of majors presentation to allow admitted students to view the range of academic possibilities at MIT.

This year may also be the last year that the event focuses on women and underrepresented minority students. Romero said that the Admissions Office is "anticipating that next year will be an all-admit weekend." Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones also said that the office hopes to provide a weekend for all admitted students.

Residence, majors fairs planned

The residence fair planned for Monday afternoon is a significant new addition to CPW this year. Romero said that the purpose of the fair is to "let prefrosh see the diversity" of living options available at MIT.

She also said that the fair would focus on information. The event will be "very informational for prefrosh and parents." Romero said that the office has been careful to ensure "more information [and] less rush" at the fair. Independent living groups will be restricted to two representatives at their table at any one time. Dormitories may send four representatives. Living groups may have one handout and one sign on display.

Kai-yuh E. Hsiao '99, Dormcon rush chair said that he was sure that some dormitories would send representatives."If all goes well, we'll be represented," he said. Hsiao said that the fair was a positive addition to CPW because, "It's never too early to start thinking about where you would want to live."

Following the fair, pre-freshmen will choose which, if any, living groups they would like their contact information released to. The groups will use that information to contact those admitted students later.

Attendees will be staying in both independent living groups and dormitories, but Romero said that the office had honored students' preferences and tried to match all housing arrangements to requests.

A choice of majors fair has also been planned for Monday. The fair "gives prefrosh an opportunity to look at all departments," Romero said. She said that the fair will enable all freshmen to receive information regardless of the major of their host.

Event raises yields

The CPW has proven successful in increasing yields among women and minorities. Approximately 65 to 75 percent of those who attend the weekend enroll as freshmen, Romero said. Only 55 percent of the general applicant pool enroll for the fall.

Romero said that the CPW has focused on women and minorities because there has "traditionally been a lower yield [for those groups] than for their [non-minority] male counterparts. "We aim to recruit these students," she said, because they "have been, in MIT's past, underrepresented."

The admissions office plans to expand the event to all admitted students, however. Romero said that the already high yields of non-minority male students and logistical problems have limited the scope of the weekend in the past.

In addition, the office mailed financial aid packets with admission letters this year for the first time. We "can't change too many variables" in yield calculations at once, Romero said. The office also was in a transitional state following the departure of former Director of Admissions Michael C. Behnke.

"We've got to be a more competitive university," in terms of recruiting freshmen, Romero said. An all-admit weekend would be one way to accomplish this goal. Even with an all-admit weekend the office would maintain its focus on women and minorities through activities for those groups, Romero said.

For this year, however, Romero said that she wants "all the prefrosh to have a good time and learn about MIT."