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Prefrosh Gather on Campus for CPW

By Ray C. He


Over 800 prospective students for the MIT class of 2008 converged from all over the world to experience life as an MIT student, compacted into the four caffeinated days that are collectively known as Campus Preview Weekend.

A total of 894 prefrosh registered for CPW, said Associate Director of Admissions Zaragoza A. Guerra III. Accompanying 516 of the prefrosh will be 779 parents, he said.

Prefrosh are excited to see what MIT has to offer. “The first thing I thought of was, ‘I can’t believe I’m here,’” said prospective student Kristen N. Sienzant. “I’m greatly anticipating going to a lot of math classes,” she said.

First impressions vary

Prefrosh have a variety of feelings about the physical appearance of the MIT campus.

“I first thought that it was big and pretty,” said prospective student Sophia C. Kamran. Compared to other colleges, however, MIT “is more confusing; I couldn’t tell when we actually arrived on campus,” she said, referring to the lack of a distinct boundary between Cambridge and campus. “It’s also not as green as other campuses.”

“The first thing I noticed was the sponge,” said prospective student Adam R. Lerner, referring to Simmons Hall. “I said to my dad, ‘Hmm... architects on acid.’”

“I think it looks like it was built by a bunch of engineers,” said prospective student Joyce M. Gallagher.

Prefrosh pick from many events

The schedule of events on the CPW Web site includes 196 registered events, along with 125 scheduled classes, for prefrosh to attend.

The greatly varied list of events includes residence tours, liquid nitrogen ice cream parties, fire juggling, and barbeques.

“It’s an extremely full schedule,” Sienzant said.

Many living groups use CPW as an opportunity to spread knowledge of their group and to begin early recruitment. “Obviously everyone is trying to recruit for their house,” Guerra said. The efforts, however, all go towards a common purpose, “trying to get [the prospective students] to come to MIT,” he said.

Of the 196 events, 53 of them are official events held at fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. Several others are co-sponsored by various living groups, such as dormitories.

Deans welcome prefrosh

At the end of the first day of CPW, Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones, and Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert P. Redwine welcomed prefrosh to MIT.

Jones talked about keeping up grades at the end of senior year, Lerner said. She “was like, ‘you are all overachievers and we want you to be overachievers, so don’t slack off,’” Lerner said. “She’s coming on too strongly; I found her very severe, and it turned me off.” There are other important things besides academics, he said.

The speeches were pretty good, Gallagher said. Jones “put humor into it, she was down to earth, and she had some good points about not slacking off,” she said.

Hosts located all over campus

Residence halls are hosting 597 prefrosh, with fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups housing the remainder.

No FSILG has more than 15 prefrosh, Guerra said. “The general number was about eight, and that depended on how many they wanted,” he said. “Practically everyone has somewhere between five and eight.”

In addition to the 297 prefrosh housed in FSILGs, 165 are hosted on campus by students with FSILG affiliations.

This number is pretty consistent with previous years, Guerra said. “We try to give them as great a profile of as many residences as possible, as they’re an important component of the MIT experience,” he said.

Hosts chosen through survey

Prefrosh are matched up to hosts based on how they answered survey questions.

“We asked a couple of questions this year of all prefrosh and all hosts,” Guerra said. Specifically, “Is there anything we need to know in terms of matching you up? What do you do when you hang out with your friends?” he said. “That gives us a clue as to their interests.”

Similarities in names and religion are coincidental, unless they specified a preference on the surveys, he said.

In previous years, a question about where the prospective student wanted to be hosted, on or off campus, was included, Guerra said. This question has since been removed because admissions was unable to accomodate all the requests to be on campus, he said.