The Sarah Elizabeths (and others) of the Class of 2012

Posted September 5th, 2008 at 4:58 pm.

It’s been a heady week and a half for the 377 students who make up the class of 2012.

Since arriving for Customs Week, they have moved into dormitories and met with new roommates, faculty members, deans, various student mentors and what probably seemed like every administrator on the campus.

There have been diversity workshops; presentations by Student Life, Campus Safety, and the Health Center; trips to Haverford; picnics; a dance party; a film festival; and even a scavenger hunt.

Their Bryn Mawr experience started with teams of students—hall advisers and “customs people,” who lead orientation activities for first-year students—helping the newcomers and their families haul bags, boxes and every piece of electronics and computer gear imaginable into dormitory rooms and begin the adjustment to campus life.

With temperatures topping out in the high 70s, this year’s move-in was considerably easier than those of years past, but it was still hot enough that the admissions “Water Ice Welcome Booth” offered a much-needed respite to parents and students.

In addition to the cool temperatures, a number of important changes to the registration process may have had the most impact on easing stress many students experience transitioning to college. New course-registration and lottery procedures allowed summer planning for course “wish lists. ”

The language and math faculties, with the help of Computing Services, moved more placement tests and exercises online and pushed the whole registration process (with deans and about 40 volunteer faculty and staff advisers) to a day earlier in the schedule. Within a few days of arrival, every new student was registered for classes.

“Our goal was to make that first week of classes less frantic,” says Associate Dean Judy Balthazar. “In the past, professors held lotteries on the first day of class and students’ schedules often didn’t firm up until the second week of classes.”

On Tuesday the class of 2012 joined returning students at a convocation in Thomas Great Hall, where they heard words of advice, encouragement and wisdom from Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe, Haverford President Stephen Emerson, Dean of the Undergraduate College Karen Tidmarsh, Provost Kim Cassidy, Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Liz McCormack, and Director of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research Marcia Martin.

While every speaker was well received, it was Tidmarsh’s tongue-in-cheek address to the Class of 2012 at the beginning of her speech that got the loudest response from the crowd.

“(Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid) Jenny Rickard told us at the official college welcome for them and their families that their most common first name is ‘Sarah,’ as it often is, and their most common middle name is ‘Elizabeth,’ as it always is. No excitement there. So many Sarahs and not a Sarah Barracuda among them, as far as I know,” said Tidmarsh.

“Jenny notes that their most common sun sign is Gemini—another coals-to-Newcastle story. I checked the description of Gemini traits on the Web, and I quote, ‘Geminis are bright, quick–witted, and the proverbial life of the party.’ Just what we need at the College once again ranked as one of the worst party schools in America,” she jokingly added.

More about the class of 2012 from Jenny Rickard

• The most popular areas of study are English, Bryn Mawr’s world-renowned and highly acclaimed “Undecided” major, International Studies, Psychology, and Biology
• Sixty-five percent are from the top 10 percent of their high school classes
• They represent 319 high schools from throughout the United States and the world
• Sixty-two percent attended public schools, 36 percent private and two percent parochial
• Fifteen percent are first-generation college students
• Twenty percent are international students

And even more from our first-ever “Completely Unscientific Survey of Incoming Students”
The below information is based on an online survey of the class of 2012. The entire class was invited to participate in the survey, which was completed by 168 students.

• Thirty one percent of students got their first iPod or mp3 player at age 16.
• Sixty percent of students got their first e-mail account at age 12. More than 30 students who responded to the survey had an e-mail account before age 10, and at least one student had her own account at 5 years old.
• Thirty-four percent of students had their own cell phone at age 14. Six students reported that they were using up minutes before their 12th birthday.
• The Harry Potter series, Pride and Prejudice and The Catcher in the Rye are their favorite books. Other favorites include Atonement, Good Omens, The Bell Jar and The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.
• When it comes to movies, action, adventure and fantasy lead the way. Favorites include The Lord of the Rings Trilogy , The Dark Night and The Princess Bride.
• Their musical tastes are so varied that it’s almost impossible to call any act a favorite, although the Beatles and the musical Wicked come the closest.
• The class of 2012’s favorite television shows are House and The Office, just beating out Gossip Girl and America’s Next Top Model.
• The news events that had the greatest impact on the lives of the class of 2012 are the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Hurricane Katrina and the Virginia Tech shooting.

Filed under: Admissions,BMC Homepage Headlines,E-News,Students Tags: by Tracy Kellmer

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