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Everyone I know was thrilled to hear that Princeton Preview, a chance for prospective students to get a taste of the Princeton experience, was once again going to include an overnight stay. For the past two years, the overnight portion has beencancelled in light of a meningitis outbreak in 2014. And while, perhaps, we seem overjoyed that this provides high school seniors a better view of Princeton, most are actually excited because this change means student clubs can host more events to specifically entice prospective students to join them.

But my initial excitement diminished quickly, as it soon became clear that a return to “overnight” Preview isn’t actually a return to the way Preview was before the meningitis scare. Preview this year isn’t three days and two nights, as it used to be three years ago. Instead, it lasts just about 24 hours. This year, students will check in on the first day between 8 and 11 a.m. and leave by 11 a.m. the next day – essentially 24 hours. Yes, that’s practically double the time it was last year, and some pre-frosh will indeed sleep here overnight. However, calling it a return to what Preview used to be is simply misguided.

This caveat seems to have gone unnoticed by most. The Prince's coverage of the change failed to mention it. The difference wasn’t officiallyhighlighted by anyone else. The Prince piece opened with “Princeton Preview will once again be an overnight event this spring for the first time in three years, according to Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye.” To a passive reader, one would get the impression that Preview was returning to how it was before.

Administrators depict the change as providing an abundance of new opportunities for prospective students to experience extracurricular life at Princeton. Dean Dunne said, “One of the things that’s been missing that we’re really happy to have return is an opportunity for students to get a better window into the full life of Princeton students.” It mentions that “there is now freedom to program a myriad of new possibilities for Preview’s scheduling.”

Yes, compared to the past two years, there are more opportunities for student groups to host events and for prospective students to experience that side of Princeton, albeit in a sort of superficial manner. But the full opportunity that used to exist with the three-day, two-night period is not returning. The situation that has existed for the past few years, with students being rushed from classes to other official events, will likely still take up the majority of those 24 hours.

With every club trying to host events in the couple of hours that provide students with free time, prospective students likely still won’t be able to experience everything they want to. They still won’t get as full of an experience as I was afforded as a prospective student, one that allowed me to evaluate how well of a fit Princeton might be. On the plus side, TSOP will be less condensed, allowing prefrosh to have a real dinner before rushing to the show and then being escorted away immediately after. Still, that seems to be a benefit of limited worth when compared to the deficits that still exist.

The shortened Preview has not hurt Princeton’s yield, contrary to what some predicted, perhaps due to the ever-increasing competitiveness of college admissions. Nevertheless, given that many of our peer institutions have longer previews, this shortened program might still have implications for those choosing among many colleges. It is definitely a concern that should continue to be monitored to make sure that Preview is not putting Princeton at a disadvantage in this regard.

Granted, there are a lot of reasons for the University to make the decision it did. There are financial costs, safety concerns, parents who travel along and other factors to be considered. Perhaps in the grand scheme of Preview, this 24-hour format is the ideal compromise between the 12-hour format of the past few years and the two-night design that existed before, but no one should be deluded into believing that this is a return to how the event was before the meningitis outbreak.

Marni Morse is a politics major from Washington, D.C. She can be reached at mlmorse@princeton.edu.

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