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Prospective Students Hit Campus for CPW

By Jennifer Krishnan


Over 700 prospective freshmen arrived on campus yesterday for Campus Preview Weekend.

About 850 prefrosh in all are expected to participate in this year’s CPW, said Associate Director of Admissions Zaragoza A. Guerra. He said he expects between 675 and 700 parents to attend as well.

Prospective student Laurie D. Burns said people had generally been friendly. “Having been here three hours I can see that [the stereotypes about MIT are] not the truth at all,” she said.

This year’s turnout is significantly higher than that of recent years, particularly the number of parents attending. Last year, only 770 students and 400 parents attended CPW.

Guerra said parents are invited and encouraged to participate in CPW because “they are a major stakeholder in the student’s decision.”

Many prefrosh staying in FSILGs

Roughly 40 percent of the prefrosh are staying in fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups this weekend, and the remainder are being housed in campus dormitories, Guerra said.

David S. Glasser of Pennsylvania, who happens to be Jewish but expressed no preference for housing, was assigned to stay at Alpha Epsilon Pi, MIT’s Jewish fraternity.

“I’d rather be in a dorm,” Glasser said, adding that he wouldn’t experience the diversity MIT touts by staying in a Jewish house.

No prefrosh are housed in non-Institute housing.

“These are students who are guests on campus,” Guerra said. “We’d like them on campus.” FSILGs across the river are an exception because “they’re part of MIT.”

Most students’ first impressions of the campus were generally positive. “It’s very busy,” Burns said. “There’s lots of construction ... The buildings are very impressive. They look very organized.”

“It’s really clean,” said Christine C. Chiu of Los Angeles, Calif. “I haven’t really seen any people,” Chiu added. “Where are they?”

“I like the buildings,” said Amir Hirsch, from Fairfield, Conn. “They’re all very interesting designs.”

“I like it. I can imagine a more beautiful place, but it will do,” Glasser said.

Dorms step up Saturday activities

“There are more events on campus and in the residence halls this year,” Guerra said.

CPW has “gotten bigger,” he said. “People have taken a strong ownership of it.”

Guerra said about 200 activities were scheduled for CPW.

“There’s almost too many options,” Burns said.

The Class of 2006 will be the first to express preferences for where they will live before arriving, so CPW will be the only opportunity for some students to see the dormitories before orientation.

“We’re putting more of an effort into our Saturday afternoon activities,” said Dormitory Council President Matthew S. Cain ’02. “In the past, we’ve had just tours and open houses. This year there are also activities” sponsored by each of the residence halls, with matching funds from Weekends@MIT and DormCon.

“We don’t want this to turn into mini-rush ... but there is an eye toward get the names [of the dorms] out,” Cain said.

“Still, the first focus is on getting people to MIT,” he added. But “everybody knows people are going to have to make choices over the summer,” and everyone wants to “influence those choices in a positive way. ... But no one wants it to turn into all-out rush.”

“We’ve let everyone know that this isn’t rush,” Guerra said. Most of these prefrosh “haven’t even decided if they’re coming to MIT. Now is not the time to pull them into a house.”

Prefrosh come for various reasons

Prefrosh had several different reasons for attending CPW. “I’m pretty set on [MIT]. I just wanted to make sure I like it,” Chiu said.

“I came out to get more of a feel for the campus, especially to stay overnight in a room,” Burns said.

She also said she came to see “the different types of people admitted, to see if I would fit in.

“This visit is helping me get a clearer picture of what life is like here,” Burns said.

“I’m definitely planning to see what the night life is like here,” she added.

Glasser has already visited MIT twice, but he came because “I like cutting school to hang out at college.”

“I’m hoping to break away from the stereotype the MIT is a nerdy campus,” Chiu said.

Chiu also said she wants to visit some classes today. “I want to make sure they’re not too intense,” she said.

CPW formerly for women only

Guerra said CPW began over 17 years ago as a program to recruit women. It was later a program for women and minorities for several years.

Currently, everyone admitted to MIT (not waitlisted) is invited to CPW. “This is only the fourth all-admit preview weekend,” Guerra said.

“It’s one of the most exciting times to be on MIT’s campus,” Guerra said.“The student body enjoys CPW and wants to be a part of it.”