April 10, 2006

High Schoolers Learn About Campus Life at Cornell Days

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High school students are raiding the campus for Cornell Days, a 12-day period of informative events and programs for accepted students, continuing until April 17.

The program, organized and managed by current students, provides accepted students with insight into the Cornell experience through visiting campus and participating in events for new students.

“The mission is to ease the stress and pressure on students and families while making the very important decision of choosing which college to attend. We want to be as helpful as we can during this process,” said Erica Hartwell ’06, Cornell Days co-chair.

“We give a students’ perspective on the university, and I want to be able to answer questions that [accepted students] may have that they do not feel comfortable asking the administration or they can’t get answered in a pamphlet,” added Lisa Raylesberg ’08, student ambassador.

The Red Carpet Society works in conjunction with Cornell Ambassadors to provide accepted students an overview of Cornell through such events as overnight hosting, information sessions, tours, student leadership panels and welcome sessions.

“Every year we improve the programming. … The welcome sessions and student leadership panels are relatively new. … We are also giving away free bus passes to alleviate the confusion from construction on campus. One way to alleviate the stress at this time of year is to help [the visitors] get around,” Hartwell said.

Cornell Days differs from other admissions events throughout the year by the number of activities held for accepted students. While information sessions and overnight hosting are held throughout the year, this event is unique with its variety of informational and social events geared entirely toward newly accepted students.

“The advantage of coming now rather than at another time of the year is that there is a lot more student interaction. We have ambassadors [around RPCC] all the time, and we have overnight hosting nearly every night. It’s just about giving [the new students] a feel for Cornell,” Hartwell said.

Students also have the chance to visit specific colleges, programs and student organizations on campus.

“Compared to the rest of the year, we have a lot more programming to introduce students to the specific colleges they applied to as well as other specific areas of the university, such as Cornell Commitment and the pre-med option,” Hartwell said.

With application totaling around 28,000 this year and an acceptance rate around 25 percent, Cornell has become a more competitive option for prospective students. As a result, accepted students have increasingly chosen to attend Cornell Days. The committee is already preparing for an estimated 1,200 visitors to come through Cornell Days programming.

“With a lot stiffer competition this year, people seem a lot more excited because they are one of the few that got in. This is a big year for Cornell, and people seem really enthusiastic about [being here],” Hartwell said.

Thus far, the organizers have found Cornell Days to be a success.

“Everything has gone smoothly. All the volunteers have been trained, and we have veteran volunteers helping us out. Next weekend is going to be especially busy [with the holiday],” Hartwell said.

Ambassadors also hope that the programming is as effective as it has been in previous years.

“I remember going to an information session [when I was an accepted student], and I found it helpful. I was contacted by an ambassador at that time … and she became one of my best friends!” Raylesberg said.

Based on accepted student reviews, the event has been a success.

“After visiting, I was impressed. … Everyone that I have met has been so friendly and seemed so happy to be here. So I think that I am inclined to [attend Cornell],” said recently accepted student Katie VanCleave.

Archived article by Eileen Soltes
Sun Staff Writer