Princeton Preview is the University’s premier outreach event for admitted students. Prior to the meningitis B outbreak that occurred a year and a half ago, Preview was a three-day event that included extensive exposure to student life and overnight stays in the University’s residential colleges. Last April, we agreed with the University’s decision to shorten Preview to a daylong program in response to the meningitis outbreak. However, given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now consider the University’s meningitis B risk equivalent to that of other colleges, the Editorial Board advocates that the University return to its overnight model for Preview.
The current schedule packs Preview into an intensive, 12-hour span. Extending the schedule would allow for more campus organizations to present to admitted students while simultaneously affording them a respite between events. In addition, an overnight Preview affords campus organizations more variety in how they choose to market themselves to admitted students, including evening social events and performances. Consequently, the Board believes that extending Preview improves the quality as well as the variety of its events.
Spending time at the University overnight for several days is also crucial to forming lasting bonds with other admitted students and current members of the University. Many current students express that people they met during Preview provided a supportive base of contacts and friends at the beginning of the year, when such support is most needed. Likewise, more time at Preview allows admitted students to form deeper connections with the campus and older students. Unfortunately, admitted students who do not live within driving distance from the University and do not qualify for financial aid may reasonably choose to not attend a mere 12-hour Preview. The Board believes that lengthening Preview would result in more of these students visiting the University, thereby expanding the geographic diversity of admitted students on campus during Preview weekends. Not every new student will take advantage of more time on campus, but affording the opportunity to admitted students is critical to enhancing their Preview experience and to allowing a full appreciation of the University.
Those concerned about the logistical effort required to host an overnight stay might argue that, in spite of a shortened Preview, the University’s yield actually increased from 68.7 percent for the Class of 2017 to 69.2 percent for the Class of 2018. However, it is difficult to draw conclusions from this trend given that the data for this policy change only exists for one year. More salient is the long-term image of the University that a single-day Preview promotes: each of the seven other schools in the Ivy League offers some form of overnight stay for admitted students. The Board believes that Princeton Preview, in its current form, appears a mediocre gesture in the face of more concerted efforts from our peer institutions. This trend should also give our own admission office pause: there must be good reason that every other Ivy League institution has adopted an overnight policy.
As such, the Board firmly believes that returning Preview to its overnight, three-day stay will improve the University’s image and enhance the experience of admitted students. The current Preview schedule is too short for new students to make the most of their time on campus.
The Editorial Board is an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of the ‘Prince.’ The Board answers only to its Chair, the Opinion Editor and the Editor-In-Chief.