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Admissions Yield Increases 5%, Focus Turns to Orientation ’99

By Kristen Landino

While the senior members of the MIT undergraduate community prepare to move on, thoughts have already turned toward the Institute’s newest students. The admissions office has released the latest admissions information on the class of 2003, even while coordinators confirm plans for Orientation ’99.

Final admissions numbers released

Out of 1752 admitted, 1060 have chosen to attend MIT in the fall, representing a 60 percent yield.

“These numbers represent a significant improvement over the past 3 years, when the yield was a constant 55 percent,” said Marilee Jones, Director of Admissions.

Campus Preview Weekend was also a success, according to Jones. 73 percent of of those attending CPW ultimately chose to come to MIT in the fall. Last year, the matriculation rate was only 67 percent.

The mean SAT scores of the class of 2003 are 702 for verbal and 752 in math.

Orientation ’99 to focus on class unity

Orientation ’99 will be much like last year’s program, with an added focus on class unity, according to coordinator Elsie Huang ’00

Students will spend more time in their orientation groups, and the class colors of the class of 2003, black and crimson, will be used throughout the week to foster a greater sense of class identity.

Some other changes in Orientation include the elimination of the athletics tour and the movement of the Welcome Dinner from Wednesday to Thursday in order to allow the freshmen more time to get settled.

New Freshman Programs slated

The biggest changes in Orientation, according to Huang, will come not during the orientation week itself, but before the week in the form of added freshman programs.

“Several new freshman programs have been created for this year’s orientation such as CityView, Freshman Outdoor Program (FOP), and Freshman Arts Program (FAP),” Huang said.

These new programs will be incorporated with the established Freshman Leadership Program (FLP) and the Discover Ocean Engineering Program.

“Next year we hope to have more programs which focus on specific academic departments,” said Huang.

The new FAP will be held on-campus and aim to introduce freshman to different arts activities in Boston. Areas of focus will include film, media, and dance, among others. Freshmen will be exposed to each subject using an interdisciplinary approach and choose to “major” in a specific area.

“We want to show them that they can still appreciate arts even though they are at a scientific school,” said Huang.

Another inaugural program for Orientation ’99 is FOP. The coordinators for the event have teamed up with Outward Bound to allow freshmen to spend a week on Thompson’s Island in Boston Harbor. The island has a ropes course and activities such as sailing.

The Freshman Service Program has been replaced by CityView which will focus more on the “community” aspect of community service. Students will explore the definition of community through various service projects in Boston and on campus. The program is limited to 70 students.

FLP, Course XIII programs remain

FLP, one of the more popular programs, will return again this year. It will continue to focus on leadership with the community and hopes to enroll between 80 and 120 students. Last year’s enrollment surpassed 100 students.

Discover Ocean Engineering is a freshman program created by J. Kim Vandiver PhD ’75, a professor of Ocean Engineering. The only activity sponsored by a specific department, the program seeks to introduce students to one of the smaller majors at the institute and has more of an academic focus compared to other freshman programs. Enrollment in the program is selective, as it has traditionally been quite popular among students.

Organizers hope for more participants

Coordinators hope the increase in the number of freshman pre-orientation programs will help to increase class unity and help students to get to know one another before the pressure of classes.

“So far, approximately 60-70 students have signed up for a freshman program, excluding Discover Ocean Engineering. The deadline is June 11, and by then we hope to have a lot more student applications,” said Huang.

All of the programs except Discover Ocean Engineering involve fee. Prices range from $100 for CityView, to $400 for FOP. Financial aid is available.