University News

Fewer apply to Meiklejohn program

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, March 19, 2012

 

Applications to the Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program have fallen from 492 last year to about 470 this spring. The mentoring program has seen a decline in applications for the past two years, with a reported 5 percent decrease last year from 517 submissions in 2010, The Herald reported April 2011.  

The number of students accepted to the program has stayed constant at 350. Ann Gaylin, associate dean of the College for first-year and sophomore studies, said the decrease in submissions is not particularly significant, adding that applications have risen considerably since 2005. In 2010, applications went up by 38 percent from the previous year, The Herald reported. 

As part of an effort to increase the competitiveness of its applicant pool, the Meiklejohn Program held several information sessions last semester before applications opened in January. Gaylin also said the University used a new database as part of an effort to streamline the application process. 

Not all students who were Meiklejohns last year reapplied to the program, but Gaylin said this was not unusual. She attributed the attrition to graduating seniors and students planning on studying abroad next year. Gaylin said rising sophomores continued to be the largest pool of applicants and that these students wished to join the program either because they had had positive experiences with their own Meiklejohns as first-years or because they thought the mentoring could be improved. 

 Oliver Diamond ’14 said he applied to be a Meiklejohn for the past academic year because he “thought it was a great program to kick-start freshman year.” Diamond said he was not assigned to his advisees until midway through fall semester, but he added that his was an exceptional case and that the program coordinators were closely involved throughout the process. Diamond reapplied and will continue to be a Meiklejohn next year.  

Though it is uncommon, Gaylin said there have been cases when veteran Meiklejohns are rejected when they reapply. This could either be due to poor reviews from their advisees or because the students are not in good academic standing. But getting rejected once should not deter students from reapplying, since it does not hamper future chances of becoming a Meiklejohn, Gaylin added. She said that students who have had to overcome academic obstacles are often ones who dispense the best advice, making for great mentors to the first-years. 

To further enhance the program, Meiklejohn leaders have incorporated events such as group advising dinners and diversity workshops, and they have also refined the orientation program, Gaylin said. The program is an integral component of the University’s advising program, Gaylin said, which is reflected in the joint collaboration of students and faculty members on a newly published Undergraduate Council of Students handbook. The handbook, which was authored by both Meiklejohns and non-Meiklejohns, aims to facilitate the transition of new students to Brown.

“We’re giving first-year students many different perspectives on the first year, and the student perspective is invaluable,” Gaylin said. 

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