Even as the members of the class of 2014 prepare to hand in their course schedules, they have yet to finish orientation.
To reduce stress for freshmen in their first days of college, the Yale College Dean’s Office has revamped Camp Yale: In the past, orientation activities such as welcome assemblies, presentations on campus security and safe sex, and academic advising meetings were packed into approximately four days prior to the start of classes. But this year, the activities, though largely the same, have been spread out over the course of two weeks. Students had mixed opinions: While some said they enjoyed spending time with their freshman counselors and other advisers, others said the program stretched on too long.
“Everyone knew that we were challenging the frosh with the relentless schedule [in the past],” Jonathan Holloway, Calhoun College master and chair of the Council of Masters, said in an e-mail. “But we all thought it had to be done before classes started.”
This year, though, Holloway said, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry decided to change the orientation schedule in order to “give students breathing room” and allow them to make more informed decisions about the activities they choose to pursue at Yale.
“We have had a much smoother start to the school year than in the past, and we have given our frosh every possible tool to succeed,” Holloway added.
Gentry did not respond to a request for comment.
But some students had mixed feelings about the longer orientation program, which required students to attend nightly and weekend meetings.
“I only feel as though the meetings at night everyday for a while was a little long,” Raymond Crouch ’14 said, though he added that orientation was a good experience overall.
Three freshman counselors interviewed declined to comment on the new orientation schedule, in which they have led meetings with freshmen during the week.
Still, Mark Schwab ’09 GRD ’16 recalled his Camp Yale experience five years ago as exciting but also stressful, since there were too many activities planned each day. And four out of six freshmen interviewed said they were glad this year’s orientation schedule allowed them to spend time with their residential college deans and masters. Tessa Berenson ’14, for one, said that even though orientation has been long, she has enjoyed meeting new people.
“I enjoyed the longer, more spread-out format for freshman orientation,” Ishan Sinha ’14 added. “It really gave me time to adjust to being away from home and at a new place.”