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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Second ever mid-year class moves into North

Published: January 14, 2005
Section: News

The second ever mid-year class moved into North Quad on Sunday making this the first mid-year class to be housed entirely in one Quad. Schefferes, which was closed for renovation during the spring semester, is housing solely mid-years and contains more than half of the mid-year class.

The Schefferes facility will provide them a great opportunity to identify as a mid-year class, said Director of Orientation and First-Year Programs Michelle OMalley. Unfortunately there are more students than can fit into Schefferies so there are pockets of students that are in Cable and Gordon.

According to statistics provided by Director for Enrollment Deena Whitfield there were 95 mid-years from 21 different states with two not being from the United States. The only states which had over five students enroll were Massachusetts with 35, New York with 13, California with eight and Connecticut with six. Whitfield estimates that the mid-year class is about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. The first mid-year class, which enrolled last year, contained only 60 students.

Mid-year students participated in an orientation program which was very similar to the one held August for first-years. 17 Orientation Leaders (OL), most of whom were OLs in the fall, helped to introduce the mid-years to Brandeis.

They really took the reins and implemented the programs. We cant have an orientation without the orientation leaders, O'Malley said. Our goal is to help the mid-year students to feel just as comfortable and just as welcome as the students [arriving] in August.

This years Orientation for mid-years is very different than the one last year according to OMalley. We just provided so much more, so many more sessions, got so many more people involved from around campus, she said.

We learned that it is important to have a very good balance of treating the mid-years like the August first years by providing them with the resources they need but also giving them that opportunity to allow for immersion with the rest of campus, OMalley said.

According to Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer this year Brandeis kept in closer contact with the mid-years than last year.

According to OMalley there have been at least five mail or e-mail communications sent from Brandeis to new mid-years informing them of things ranging from when and how to register for classes to sending them a glossy 16 page pre-arrival guide which gave them an overview of what to expect on campus.

Last week's Orientation was pretty much a mirror of what happened for the August orientation, OMalley said.

Assistant Dean of Student Life Alwina Bennett described this years mid-year class as an, upbeat, happy to be here kind of bunch. She told the Hoot that the students appear, enthusiastic and ready.

There was an orientation program held for mid-years in June in order to get them excited about Brandeis, according to OMalley.

Another program initiated to help the mid-year students adjust is the North Quad Buddy Program in which first-year students from North Quad welcome mid-years.
At one point, the mid-years were broken into five groups by combining their AIDE groups and given a campus tour during during which they got to visit Kutz, Gosman, the Intercultural Center, the Shapiro Campus Center, and got to hear about the arts and the Library.

We really provided a full schedule of events for them, OMalley said. The goal is to help the students understand what is available to them at Brandeis.

OMalley stated that attendance at most orientation programs has been good. She said some events were attended by over 70 students.

Some of the Orientation events included a bingo night with gift certificates to Target as prizes, a bus trip to Target, a theatrical performance on academic integrity, and an activity called “Building Bridges: Why does diversity matter to me?”

Mid-years will have the option to graduate with the class of 2008 in three and a half years, provided they fulfill all of their University requirements, or to graduate in four years.

Statistics regarding standardized test scores and a further demographic breakdown were unavailable at the time of publication.

The renovations in Schefferes included new fire alarm and sprinkler systems. Other changes included refurbished lounges and common areas, new carpeting and repainted walls in the hallways, and the creation of bathrooms for the oposite sex on each floor, according to Associate Vice President for University Services Mark Collins. Having both sex bathrooms on each floor allowed the University to make the floors co-ed.