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All Prefrosh Invited To Preview Weekend

By Sanjay Basu

Initiating a drastic change from tradition, the Office of Admissions has announced that this year’s Campus Preview Weekend will not only be an event for women and minority students, but also all pre-frosh admitted to the Class of 2003.

The preview weekend, which will take place this year from Thursday April 8 to Sunday April 11, is one of the highest “yielding” events for MIT, meaning that it traditionally attracts 65 to 75 percent of the pre-frosh who participate. Generally, only 55 percent of accepted students end up choosing to enroll as freshmen at the Institute.

Competition, yield are key issues

Faced with competition from fellow universities, and given the past success of the event, admissions officers decided that the change to invite all pre-frosh to the preview weekend would be made this year.

Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones had hinted at the move last year, when she said that she was thinking of making the event an all-admit weekend.

“In the past, we’ve really been working hard to increase women and minorities on campus,” said Associate Director of Admissions Zaragoza A. Guerra III. “This year, we are still doing this, but we wanted to offer the opportunity to other students as well.”

Previously, pre-frosh who were not women or minority students could arrange “overnight visits” to MIT, during which any applicant could stay one or two nights at a dorm, fraternity, sorority, or independent living group. This allowed applicants to visit the campus at different times of the year, and also prevented crowding problems during Campus Preview Weekend.

Crowding could become a concern

As a result of this year’s institutional change, MIT expects to host approximately 600 pre-frosh this year and an additional 300 parents, according to Guerra. Last year, only approximately 415 women and minority students attended the preview weekend. Women made up three-quarters of pre-frosh attending the event. About the same number of women and minority students will come this year, though the overall percentage of these students in the group will naturally differ, Guerra said.

Given the large volume of participants, admissions officers say that they need more hosts for the students, particularly male Caucasian and Asian hosts.

“We are heavily recruiting hosts,” Guerra said. “We’ve traditionally never asked white or Asian men to host, so this year we are trying to spread the word to this segment of the population.”

New events and new people arrive

Several events, including academic and housing expos, are being planned for the pre-frosh. This year, pre-frosh will experience a new “open house” program during Campus Preview Weekend. In this program, students will be able to view several houses as opposed to just their host dormitories or FSILGs. Students will stay at a dorm or FSILG they have picked prior to the weekend, and they will have the option of receiving more information about other living groups after the event is over.

For the first time, MIT alumni are being invited to the preview weekend. This year, MIT interviewers will join the pre-frosh on campus to meet the students they interviewed. These “educational counselors” will also attend events specifically planned for them while pre-frosh participate in the weekend activities.

According to Guerra, the admissions office has several other activities planned for the pre-frosh, including several lectures from distinguished faculty. However, Guerra wants to see more MIT students involved in the event.

“For coming years, we are trying out ways to get more MIT students involved... This is key,” he said. “We want to bring the best and the brightest to MIT and show them what a great place this is... This is literally our future we’re talking about.”