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Prefrosh Plan Falls Hundreds Of Hosts Short

By Georgia N. Alexakis

In just one short week, more than 800 high school seniors will flock to Harvard looking for a good time and a good taste of college life during their prefrosh weekend.

But if things do not change soon, as many as 200 of them might end up looking for a place to stay.

"It's always a challenge to get hosts," said Wendy Chang, admissions officer and director of the visiting program, known to most as prefrosh weekend.

"The really enthusiastic ones will sign up immediately, but there are those who mean to sign up and never get around to it," Chang said.

But being short of hosts with a week to go is nothing new.

Each year, Chang is faced with a last-minute scramble. And each year, all prefrosh end up with a roof over their heads.

As of yesterday, Chang said, 400 undergraduates had signed up to host prefrosh for the weekend of April 19-21.

She added that this does not include the total number of spots available for prefrosh, as many students volunteer to host more than one guest.

At least 800 students are expected to attend this year's prefrosh weekend, Chang said, but in the past attendance has been as high as 1,000.

"We never know the definite amount until a few days before the weekend because of the short time frame between notification of acceptance and the actual weekend," said Adam R. Kovacevich '99, co-chair of the Undergraduate Admissions Committee (UAC).

At this point, after accounting for undergraduates willing to host more than one prefrosh, an estimated 600 spots are actually available for prefrosh attending that weekend.

That means about 200 more spots are still needed.

"Late in the game is when you have to get aggressive," Chang said. "We want to get people pumped up about hosting, but we also want to get them excited about the entire weekend."

Chang said some students are just forgetful.

"Some of them might think that it's too late to sign up to host or they might mention that they are willing to host but haven't filled out the form," Chang said. "They're busy students, and this obviously isn't the only thing on their mind."

Other students offered different reasons for the shortage.

"I think some people might be selfish with their time or they have roommates who don't want to be bothered," said Nicole K. Sherwood '00, who enjoyed her prefrosh visit last year and plans to host next week-end.

"I really appreciate the fact that someone took the time out to host me, and I wanted to do the same," she said.

Kovacevich said that UAC is trying to drum up more hosts through e-mails, news group postings and simple word-of-mouth.

"I'm pretty confident that we'll get the hosts that we need," he said.

Last-Minute Scramble

But while Chang and her staff may ultimately succeed in securing enough spots, the last-minute scramble often results in prefrosh staying in the Quad or with unenthusiastic hosts.

"At first I thought it was cool to be with upperclassmen," said Dave A. Tortorella '00, who stayed with juniors in the Quad last year. "But I felt distanced from prefrosh activities. A lot of the prefrosh were hanging out in the Square, and it was a huge trek for me to go back to my room every night."

But Chang stressed that location isn't everything.

"If they have a host who is enthusiastic, they might end up having a better time in Currier House than someone who stayed someplace like Grays," Chang said.

But Tortorella said many hosts lack the crucial enthusiasm.

"I understand that they need more hosts, but it seems more important that they get interested hosts," said Tortorella, who agreed to host a prefrosh in light of his less-than-satisfying prefrosh experience. "The general theme shouldn't be: get-rid-of-your-prefrosh-as-fast-as-you-can."

But Chang said to remember every host has a different hosting attitude and strategy.

"Some think that if they host a couple of prefrosh, they can have a buddy for the weekend," Chang said. "It's important for the hosts to be enthusiastic and welcoming, but there's a difference between that and being hand-holding."

Instead, Chang said that once prefrosh find their hosts, the nature of the rest of the weekend depends on the prefrosh themselves.

"So much of the weekend depends on the prefrosh taking the initiative to experience Harvard," Chang said. "We'll get enough hosts, but the toughest part about prefrosh weekend is making sure that everyone is having a good time."

Students interested in hosting can e-mail:

college@fas.harvard.edu, including their name, room and mailing addresses, phone number, number of prefrosh desired, and whether or not they smoke

Other students offered different reasons for the shortage.

"I think some people might be selfish with their time or they have roommates who don't want to be bothered," said Nicole K. Sherwood '00, who enjoyed her prefrosh visit last year and plans to host next week-end.

"I really appreciate the fact that someone took the time out to host me, and I wanted to do the same," she said.

Kovacevich said that UAC is trying to drum up more hosts through e-mails, news group postings and simple word-of-mouth.

"I'm pretty confident that we'll get the hosts that we need," he said.

Last-Minute Scramble

But while Chang and her staff may ultimately succeed in securing enough spots, the last-minute scramble often results in prefrosh staying in the Quad or with unenthusiastic hosts.

"At first I thought it was cool to be with upperclassmen," said Dave A. Tortorella '00, who stayed with juniors in the Quad last year. "But I felt distanced from prefrosh activities. A lot of the prefrosh were hanging out in the Square, and it was a huge trek for me to go back to my room every night."

But Chang stressed that location isn't everything.

"If they have a host who is enthusiastic, they might end up having a better time in Currier House than someone who stayed someplace like Grays," Chang said.

But Tortorella said many hosts lack the crucial enthusiasm.

"I understand that they need more hosts, but it seems more important that they get interested hosts," said Tortorella, who agreed to host a prefrosh in light of his less-than-satisfying prefrosh experience. "The general theme shouldn't be: get-rid-of-your-prefrosh-as-fast-as-you-can."

But Chang said to remember every host has a different hosting attitude and strategy.

"Some think that if they host a couple of prefrosh, they can have a buddy for the weekend," Chang said. "It's important for the hosts to be enthusiastic and welcoming, but there's a difference between that and being hand-holding."

Instead, Chang said that once prefrosh find their hosts, the nature of the rest of the weekend depends on the prefrosh themselves.

"So much of the weekend depends on the prefrosh taking the initiative to experience Harvard," Chang said. "We'll get enough hosts, but the toughest part about prefrosh weekend is making sure that everyone is having a good time."

Students interested in hosting can e-mail:

college@fas.harvard.edu, including their name, room and mailing addresses, phone number, number of prefrosh desired, and whether or not they smoke

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