Campus Preview Weekend Draws Record Crowd, Awesome Weather

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East Campus residents prepare wildly-flavored liquid nitrogen ice cream during the CPW festival on April 16. The selection included blueberry, vanilla, mango, and rhubarb ice cream, along with an array of fun toppings.
Steve Howland—The Tech

This weekend, a record number of prospective freshmen are expected to arrive at MIT for this year’s Campus Preview Weekend. Over a thousand students from all over the world will gather for a nonstop 72-hour experience involving over 640 events.

Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86 said that this year’s CPW will be the largest ever, with a record attendance of 1061 prospective freshmen, up from 1021 last year. 862 parents will also be on campus. With the acceptance rate down from last year’s 11.9% to this year’s 10.2%, Schmill said he believes that MIT has selected the highest caliber students from one of the most competitive applicant pools ever.

This year, art portfolios from prospective freshmen were shown off in the student center near the CPW registration area. The display included self-portraits, photos of Machu Picchu, and even pictures of a “Moulin Rouge” set made by a prospective student for her school’s prom.

The weekend commenced with the CPW Opening Ceremony at Rockwell Cage. Undergraduate Association President Noah S. Jessop ’09 welcomed the students and introduced Schmill, who shared some interesting facts about the Class of 2013. The most popular male and female names in the admitted class were Michael and Sarah, respectively. The most represented state was California, and the most represented city was New York.

Schmill emphasized that all the prospective freshmen deserved to be here. “We don’t make mistakes!” he said.

Schmill was interrupted by members of the MIT Logarhythms a capella group, who hid themselves among the sea of prospective freshmen. After the performance, which included the Flo Rida song “Low,” Schmill led a rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song for those students celebrating their birthdays over the weekend.

Before the end of the ceremony, the Assistant Director of Admissions, Lauren Avalos, gave the students a few safety instructions and wished them an enjoyable weekend. Shannon Moran ’12, one of MIT’s admissions bloggers, handed out “A How To Guide for CPW,” and then the prefrosh were divided into orientation groups. Orientation coordinators then introduced the Orientation Leaders, who led various icebreakers and games.

During the icebreakers, prospective students mingled with their peers and current undergraduates. Many posed questions about possible majors, the workload, and the activities offered.

Teresa Yeh, from Maryland, was very excited for the weekend. She looked forward to meeting everyone: fellow prefrosh, current students, and professors.

“The MIT community is very collaborative,” she said. “Seeing all the very cool clubs at MIT — whether they are about community service and working with elementary school kids, or making food, or learning the chemistry behind chocolate-making — they all have a ‘we’re-all-in-this-together-for-better-or-for-worse’ mentality.”

Elise Stave, from North Carolina, said that she was attracted to MIT because of the vibrant student body. “There are so many different people, so many diverse interests,” she said. Stave said that she had already decided to come, and was looking forward to joining the diving team.

Devin Ceb, from Connecticut, said that he did not plan on sleeping at all. “I want to do as much as I can,” he said.

“Everybody seems to be having fun, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Associate Director of Admissions Matthew L. McGann ’00 toward the end of the opening ceremony. “The CPW weather machine is back!” McGann added.

After the icebreaker, the MIT Marching Band led prefrosh to the CPW Festival, which took place in a loud and overcrowded Johnson Athletic Center. The festival showed off a handful of MIT’s student activity groups who performed and played games with the prefrosh.