University News

Despite efforts, Meiklejohn apps down

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, April 4, 2011

The Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program saw a 5 percent decrease in the number of applicants this year, from 517 in 2010 to 492 this spring. Last year, the number of applications increased 38 percent over 2009.

Of the 492 applications, approximately 350 students — the same numbers as in previous years — will participate in the program for the upcoming academic year, according to Ann Gaylin, associate dean of the College for first-year and sophomore studies.

Despite efforts to enhance the program — which include developing a sense of community within the program through a more interactive orientation, offering training for Meiklejohns throughout the year and better publicizing the program and the application process — the decreased number of applications received this year did not reflect the general trend of increased applications in previous years.

Ari Rubenstein ’11, a Meiklejohn leader, said the increased attention for the program — though this year’s applicant numbers declined, the number increased from 375 in 2009 — is partly due to stepped-up recruitment efforts that began as early as fall 2010. The application process, which began in December, is also longer. He said the excitement of giving back to the Brown community through mentoring and helping first-years  motivates students to apply to be Meiklejohns.

Noura Choudhury ’12, another Meiklejohn leader, said students who have had good experiences with their Meiklejohns during their first year provided productive feedback, thus improving program overall. For example, first-years can communicate with their Meiklejohns before they arrive on campus in the fall through the ASK Advising Sidekick tool on the Dean of the College’s website and by writing letters to their advisers during the summer.

Christina Sun ’14, a former Herald contributing writer, said the Meiklejohn program was a good opportunity for first-years to get to know upperclassmen who can offer more insight than other first-years. “It’s nice to know that I have someone to go and talk to about anything,” Sun said.

This year, the Office of the Dean of the College and the Meiklejohn leadership program have implemented a policy for new Meiklejohns who will be away during the fall semester. Instead of starting as Meiklejohns in the spring, their participation in the program will be deferred until the following year. Gaylin said this change was made because the fall orientation is the most important training, and beginning Meiklejohns sometimes find it difficult to connect with first-years when their initial contact occurs only in the spring term.

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