When East Coast Meets West

Number of first-years from California ties N.Y. figures

Timothy A. Cook

Massachusetts may be in the lead, but first-years from California to the New York islands aren’t far behind.

For the first time, California tied with New York as the second-most represented state in the Class of 2007.

Both states are represented by 219 first-year students this year.

Only Massachusetts has more students enrolled than the two states.

In general, the number of accepted students who enroll at Harvard from California has risen over the past four years, while the number from the Empire State has dipped.

In the Class of 2004, there were 240 first-years from New York, and 180 from California.At a Parents’ Association event in San Francisco last April, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said he believed that this could be the beginning of a new trend, according to The Harvard College Parents’ Newsletter.

Thomas C. Hudnut, headmaster of the Harvard-Westlake School, a private high school in North Hollywood, said the trend is a good sign.

“We encourage students to look beyond the immediate area to other schools,” he said. “When students from Massachusetts come here to study and vice versa, it can be a very broadening experience.”

Gerri Evans, a guidance counselor at Mission Viejo High School, a public school in Mission Viejo, Calif., said her school sends one or two students a year to Harvard,

She said she had not seen any surge in interest in the University, but that Harvard does hold a certain cachet among her students.

“Students from California would always like to go to Harvard,” she said.

Aaron J. Epstein ’05 of Los Altos Hills, Calif. said he was surprised by the rising enrollment numbers.

“The goal, at least where I was, was to go to Stanford,” he said. “Harvard wasn’t even on the radar [at my high school].”

George W. King ’05, a board member of the California Club, said he roundly approved this new development.

“I think certainly there’s a quality of openness and friendliness to strangers that Californians miss a lot, coming here.” said King, who once lived in New York City, but now resides in Freestone, Calif.

King also said that Golden State natives “bring a different attitude to life that is refreshing.”