Hundreds of prospective Harvard freshmen, many eager to see the College for the first time, had their plans interrupted by the lockdown in the Boston area Friday which forced Harvard officials to cancel the annual spring weekend for admitted students.
For several dozen admitted high school seniors that meant they got their first taste of Harvard in Terminal E of Boston Logan International Airport.
There, a flock of Harvard officials met with over 100 students and parents, greeted by Harvard officials including Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67.
“We’ve all just kind of bonded over this mutual event, so to speak,” West Bloomfield High School senior Hamna M. Nazir of Michigan told The Crimson from the airport on Friday. “I feel like when we go back to campus in the fall and see each other, it will be a lot nicer because we’ve had this experience to go through together.”
Harvard officials canceled the annual Visitas weekend as Boston faced a lockdown and police officers conducted a manhunt for the second suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
Harvard paid the hotel and meal fees for families who needed to stay the night in Boston and will also cover the costs families pay to change their flights, according Fitzsimmons.
“We wanted to make sure that in this very difficult circumstance that Harvard was reaching out,” Fitzsimmons said.
Disappointed that they would not host admitted students, zealous undergraduates decided to turn to the internet to offer advice to prospective freshman.
On Twitter, undergraduates, alumni, and some faculty offered guidance to admitted students using the handle #virtualvisitas.
“We wanted the students to feel supported,” said Jayshlyn D. Acevedo ’14, who is a co-coordinator for Visitas weekend.
One Tweet from a prospective student asked whether Harvard professors put their graduate students ahead of undergraduates. In response, a 2012 graduate of the College tweeted about an art history class that she took with just one other student.
For the admitted students who did make it to campus, some current undergraduates offered up their rooms and showed admitted students around campus.
Dozens of prospective freshmen and their families showed up for unofficial tours that they learned about from a Harvard Class of 2017 Facebook group.
Although Theodore A. Peng ’13 is not a usual weekend tour guide, he transformed into a Harvard spokesman for the weekend, guiding more than 20 students around the Yard Saturday and meeting with others over lunch.
“As a senior, you look back and remember being in that position and having a great time at Visitas,” Peng said. “Visitas was one of my greatest factors choosing Harvard.”
1,000 Pre-Frosh Visiting for VisitasHarvard will open its gates to about 1,000 prospective students this weekend under the heading of a new unofficial name: Visitas.
1,300 Prefrosh Flood Campus During Visitas Weekend
Reply Date Extension for Class of 2017 Under Possible ConsiderationFollowing the cancellation of Visitas weekend Friday afternoon, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 told The Crimson Friday night that officials may consider the possibility of granting an extension for accepted students to reply to their offers of admission to the College.
In This Community We TrustWe believe that the response of Harvard and the Boston community to the bombing and resulting manhunt demonstrate qualities of both the school and wider area that ought to make coming to Cambridge even more attractive than before.
Admissions Counselors: After Visitas Cancellation, Yield Likely SteadyDespite the cancellation of Harvard’s admitted student weekend in the wake of a week of chaos following the Boston marathon bombings, admissions counselors and prospective students agree that the yield for the Class of 2017 will likely be consistent with that of years past.