April 14, 2003

Prefrosh Visit for Cornell Days

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The claim that the weather is only nice in Ithaca when parents or prospective students come to visit found support once again this weekend. Nice weather accompanied this year’s Cornell Days, an extensive visitation and overnight hosting program for those students who have been accepted for the Class of 2007, which lasts from April 10-21.

Cornell Days attempts to show visiting students what their experience at Cornell will be like. Cornell is one of the few schools in the country that runs such an elaborate visiting program. Both those who were accepted by early decision and those who just received their acceptance letters are welcome to visit; more than 1,400 prospective students do. Of these, approximately 800 of them stay overnight in a dorm room, with a host.

In order to acquaint students with everyday life at Cornell, many different programs are available for them. There is no forced itinerary, but they are provided with information about what is going on that day.

A list entitled “fun things to do around campus,” which includes the Laboratory of Ornithology, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Cornell Dairy Store, is provided. Additionally, a list of certain classes, their locations and times are provided, as well as a meal voucher for the dining hall and a voucher for the gym. Each college has a roundtable, and other events, as well as a student activities panel, held daily.

Students and parents have separate activities, because they are usually interested in getting different perspectives of the school.

Barry Le Vine ’04, co-chair of the Red Carpet Society, said that “parents are usually interested in the nuts and bolts of the school, such as the specifics of the meal plan or the best type of computer to purchase. They also know that their kids got in, but they want to know if they are going to get out.”

The Red Carpet Society, a student-run group affiliated with the Undergraduate Admissions Office, coordinates the overnight hosting of the students who come to visit. The name of the group itself encapsulates their aim. According to Le Vine, the Red Carpet Society attempts to “make sure that all students are treated like royalty.”

Over 400 hosts volunteer for this program, some even hosting six students in a single night. The hosts are encouraged to retain their everyday schedule, in order to ensure that the visitors don’t interfere with the host’s schoolwork.

It also affords the prospective students a chance at viewing regular life as a student. The hosts go through training, in which they are instructed in the ways to deal with difficult questions, such as the source of the supposed notoriously high suicide rate at Cornell.

Le Vine says that this program allows prospective Cornellians to see students both at work and at play, and they can “realize Cornell isn’t just a nerd school, but that there are things to do here. Students who come here next year will help to shape this place.”

Accordingly, Cornell Days helps to make a difference when students decide where to go, and usually increases enrollment at Cornell. Le Vine said that in general, the response to Cornell Days is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, he said that in the past people have gone through the day and asked him, “Where do I sign?”

Cornell Days are extremely informative, and especially helpful because most prospective students who come to visit Cornell are deciding between a few schools, and a program such as Cornell Days helps those students decide which school would be best for them. Beth Lasoff ’05 hosted a girl and explained that “from the experience of just chilling at Cornell, and seeing what it was like, she was really feeling Cornell over her other choices.”

Archived article by Yonit Caplow