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Lottery Will Determine Participation In Concourse

By Beckett W. Sterner

NEWS EDITOR

Freshmen have shown strong interest this year in alternatives to mainstream lecture courses, especially in Concourse, which will have to run a lottery for the first time in many years, according to Concourse Director Cheryl A. Butters.

The greater interest was a surprise, she said, since “we anticipated a low enrollment” this term. The program can take about 60 students per term, but only about 30 students had responded over the summer.

“It turned around” in the last two days, though, she said, with a total of over 70 having signed up on Monday, and about 100 after the open house on Tuesday.

She said it was unclear why the response had been so late or so strong. Butters said that as a result of the sudden interest in the program, a lottery will have to be run for the first time in many years. They hoped to have the results available last night, she said.

“I don’t like to turn people away,” she said, “but it’s difficult enough putting on a program for 60” and if it is larger than that, the program loses its unity.

Demand strong across the board

The other learning communities, such as the Experimental Studies Group, Terrascope, and the Media Arts and Sciences Special Freshman Year Program have also been seeing strong interest this year.

Alexander H. Slocum SB ’82, director for ESG, said that 70 to 80 freshmen had expressed an interest although the program only has 50 slots available.

Director for the MAS program V. Michael Bove, Jr. ’83 said that they had 34 students sign up this year, “more than we’ve ever had before.” The program began five years ago and typically had about 25 students, he said.

Kip V. Hodges PhD ’82, co-director for Terrascope, said that they were “happy” with their enrollment so far, and had met their target of 30 to 40 students. He said that the program would have to stay small even with a lot of student interest as some events were limited in size, such as their spring trip to the Amazon last year.

Students seek flexibility in classes

One possible reason for the strong interest in the programs, Slocum said, is how modern technology puts the “focus on customizing everything in the max.” When he was in ESG, he said, it gave him “a chance to do my own stuff.”

Sanjukta Pal ’07 said that she had signed up for Concourse because “it offers a lot of the courses I wanted to take” and would make her more comfortable with the material. She said that she thought “it would be a good thing to take ... at least for the first semester.”

Sarah S. Wu ’06, who was in Concourse last year, said that the program provided her with smaller, more intimate classes.

“All your classmates have the same classes so you get to know them better,” Wu said.