CPW 2013 - A Spirited Success Despite the Less than Optimal Spring Weather

Kris Guay, Communications Manager, Admissions

Cold and rainy weather didn’t deter the 1,085 prospective freshman, or “prefrosh” and more than 800 parents who arrived for MIT’s signature yield weekend for admitted students. Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) was held this year over four days on April 11-14.  In true MIT collaborative fashion, volunteers from all over campus came together to welcome the newly admitted students and their families starting with a bustling check–in on Thursday morning on the second floor of the student center.

CPW prefrosh with Tim the Beaver

“This year, we wanted to give the students some easy ways to break the ice and mingle with their future classmates right away,” said Katie Kelley, Assistant Director of Admissions and CPW Coordinator.  Students arriving for check- in were given a puzzle piece tucked inside the neck wallets that housed their key cards and other information and were told to add it to a large-scale jigsaw puzzle in the center of the room. [Watch time-lapsed video of puzzle being putted together]  “It proved to be a great way to start the weekend,” she said.   Students could also pick up colorful and whimsical pins at the check-in table and find other students wearing matching pins throughout the weekend. “We encouraged them to take pictures of themselves with others they found wearing their matching pins and to upload them to the CPW photo tumblr. We got some great photos,” Kelley said.

CPW 2013 StudentsMost students arrived on Thursday morning to take advantage of the over 650 events planned for them all weekend, but some continued to check in on Friday. A few even arrived as late as Saturday night eager to meet their student host and catch a quick glimpse of what it’s like to be an MIT student, even for just an overnight.

“I’m always impressed by how the prefrosh seem to scatter throughout the campus and blend right in after meeting their host, getting involved in activities,” said Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill.The host matching process is a big part of why prefrosh feel so comfortable on campus as soon as the first day. Current students register by late March and complete an online training before they are matched with a prefrosh for the weekend.

“We’re lucky to have so many current students who are willing to host a prefrosh in their dorm or living group.  We even have to turn some away and keep them on a waiting list as a backup host,” said Brenna Heintz, Admissions Counselor and the CPW assistant in charge of host matching.  This is also the third year the admissions office has used a special algorithm to match prefrosh with someone who shares similar tastes to them when it comes to food, sleeping schedules, and activities. “I remember the days when the entire admission office gathered together for over a week to hand match prefrosh with a current student host. Now, thanks to the algorithm, we just need to push a button and it’s done, said Director of Admissions Matt McGann. “It’s pretty awesome.”

CPW StudentsSome highlights over the weekend for both students and their parents included:

The President’s Welcome and Featured Faculty Speakers including Professor Kristala Jones Prather, Theodore T. Miller Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering; Professor Pattie Maes, Alexander W. Dreyfoos (1954) Professor in Media Arts and Sciences; and Professor William Broadhead, Associate Professor of History and MacVicar Faculty Fellow. The event was held on Friday morning in Kresge Auditorium to a packed crowd of parents and students.

The Parent and Family Reception sponsored by the MIT Parent’s Association and The MIT Club of Boston was held on Friday night in Walker Hall and featured a presentation from current student Kuljot Anand.

The CPW Closing Remarks and Variety Show was held in Kresge Auditorium on Saturday night and featured performances by the Logarythms, the Chorallaries, and Ridonkulous, among others.