Pre-orientation numbers hold steady in second year of streamlined application process
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 08:09
An estimated 717 incoming freshmen participated in one of the four pre-orientation programs offered this year, a stable number compared to last year’s 724 participants despite enrollment shifts within different programs, according to Office for Campus Life (OCL) Director Joe Golia.
The current streamlined application allows students to rank pre-orientation programs in order of preference, so all students who wanted to participate in a pre-orientation program were able to do so, Golia said.
“Anyone who wanted to do any [pre-orientation] program had the option to, because we still had space,” he said.
However, some students who were only interested in attending one of the more popular programs may not have been able to because of capacity limitations, Golia added.
Four pre-orientation programs were available to freshmen this year: Tufts Wilderness Orientation (TWO), Fitness and Individual Development at Tufts (FIT), Freshman Orientation Community Service (FOCUS) and International Orientation (IO).
The Conversations, Action, Faith and Education (CAFE) pre-orientation program, which would have been in its fourth year, was not offered.
Though CAFE was traditionally a small program designed to encourage dialogue, its low application numbers were the primary factor in its cancelation, according to Golia. CAFE was canceled after consultation with and approval from the chaplaincy.
The decision was reached in January, University Chaplain ad Interim Patricia Budd Kepler told the Daily in an email.
CAFE remains a student organization, and the possibility of its return as a pre-orientation program has not been ruled out.
“The option is still out there, but the numbers were so low that, financially, it was not able to sustain itself,” Golia said.
TWO, traditionally the most popular pre-orientation program, expanded in response to increasing demand to include three more trips this year, opening up 24 more spots for incoming freshmen, according to TWO Co-Coordinator Rachael Wolber (LA ’12). Of the 390 freshmen applicants, 45 were chosen for the waitlist and 239 total participated.
Like last year, students were randomly selected for acceptance to TWO, she explained.
Approximately 195 students enrolled in FOCUS this year, roughly the same as last year, according to FOCUS Co-Coordinator Emma Bloksberg-Fireovid, a junior.
She said that 240 students applied, representing an increase over previous years. Students were selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Though FOCUS hopes to expand its capacity in the future, the group was unable to do so this year.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the logistical power to do it this year,” Bloksberg-Fireovid said. “That was one of our goals for the program, but it just didn’t end up working out.”
FIT enrolled 152 students this year, approximately 30 fewer than last year, according to Branwen Smith-King, assistant director of athletics.
Despite the decrease, Smith-King explained that having fewer participants was not a downside since FIT is designed for mentorship.
“I’m not really alarmed at that; I just think it’s just the way it is,” she said. “I think 152 is perfectly fine. It makes it more intimate, more personal.”
IO this year hosted 130 students representing 35 countries, according to International Center Director Jane Etish-Andrews. There is no cap on the number of participants, she added.
Etish-Andrews felt that IO’s shift last year to the standardized application could have altered the program’s composition, potentially decreasing representation of the American citizens IO seeks to include.
However, she noted that American citizens have continued to enroll in IO despite the streamlined application process.
“We always get international students; they’re our primary constituents that we’re looking to bring. But we do get Americans who grew up overseas, or last attended high school overseas, and we get dual [American] citizens. We get students from other US territories and islands, and we also get Americans
who have an interest in IO,” Etish-Andrews said.
TWO and FOCUS participants received their keys and were able to move into their dormitories on the day of their arrival, rather than waiting until the general freshman move-in day as in years past.