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Freshmen Advised as Fortnight Kicks Off

The class of 2015 gathered in Annenberg Monday night to explore different concentrations.
The class of 2015 gathered in Annenberg Monday night to explore different concentrations.
By Indrani G. Das, Crimson Staff Writer

Hundreds of members of the Class of 2016 crowded into Annenberg Hall Monday night for the kickoff of advising fortnight.

The two-week long program consists of a series of panels, open houses, teas, and socials for each of the College’s 48 concentrations with the goal of helping freshmen to choose their concentrations by the end of their sophomore fall.

“The message is just to keep your mind open,” said Valerie R. Lazzari, administrative coordinator of the advising programs office.

On Monday night, Annenberg contained over 50 academic subject tables with students, tutors, faculty and chairs of various departments. The representatives enticed students to their various fields in numerous ways. Some departments used sign-ups and pamphlets, while others offered candy and other gifts. The Computer Sciences department gave away CS50 stress balls to prospective concentrators.

Upperclassmen present at the event promoted the support and one-on-one attention they receive in their respective concentrations.

“I went to my tutorial a few weeks ago and then spent half the time talking about my life,” said Gargi Chaudhuri ’14, a history and literature concentrator.

Other upperclassmen mentioned tutors who had taken concentrators to coffee or attended midnight movie premieres with students.

Rachel H. Johnston ’14, another history and literature concentrator with a medieval studies focus, said that although her tutor did not attend movie premiers, she did answer her phone calls well past midnight.

All freshman must complete at least one advising conversation by the end of the fortnight, which can include attending an event or having a personal meeting. To get students interested in a department, faculty members encouraged students to set up individual meetings.

“You grab them as they walk past,” said Andrew Berry, a lecturer of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and assistant head tutor.

Some students expressed mixed feelings about the event.

“It was a little overwhelming at first,” said attendee Jordan K. Degraaf ’16. However, “There were a lot of helpful staff and faculty members,” she added.

—Laya Anasu contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Indrani G. Das can be reached at idas@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @IndraniGDas.

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