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College officials scramble after lockdown cancels events for prospective students, less than 2 weeks before decision day

Posted by Your Town  April 23, 2013 03:45 PM

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A number of Boston-area colleges canceled events for prospective students on Friday and Saturday, leaving some high schoolers temporarily stranded, and school officials scrambling to reschedule open houses before the looming May 1st decision deadline.

According to the Boston University admissions website, the open house programs scheduled for April 19th and 20th were canceled. The university will hold makeup sessions on April 26th and 27th.
Admissions officers fielded questions on the BU Class of 2017 Facebook page.

Northeastern University rescheduled its Saturday events for prospective students to Sunday April 21st and Berklee College of Music canceled its Saturday open house.

Mark Campbell, vice president for enrollment at Berklee, said the open house was expected to draw a few hundred potential students. Although the events were canceled, college officials met with about 30 students, many of whom had traveled from as far as Mexico and Canada.

"They were very appreciative of our effort," Campbell said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.

Campbell said he is hopeful that the marathon bombings will not drastically hurt the college's yield rate.

"It would be collectively naive [for Boston colleges] to feel as though it would have no impact," he said."On the other hand we are seeing an incredible outpouring of support for Boston and for Berklee," later adding, "we're hoping that in the end they will decide to see this through and enroll."

Nearly 1,400 students who had been accepted to Harvard College, some international, were en route to Cambridge on Friday for an annual three-day event called Visitas, the college said in a statement. By noon, the university had officially canceled Visitas.

But hundreds of students, many with their parents, had already landed at Logan Airport Friday morning, the statement said. College officials ordered pizza for approximately 85 students and nearly 20 parents, helped reschedule flights home, and booked hotel rooms.

Members of the Harvard community improvised by using the hashtag #virtualvisitas on Twitter to answer questions from prospective students.

William R. Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard College, said in the statement that Harvard is not rescheduling the event, but the college may extend the acceptance deadline beyond May 1 for students who had planned to attend Visitas.

“We will do whatever we can to help them in making their decision,” Fitzsimmons said in the statement.

On Sunday, Harvard President Drew Faust sent a message to the prospective students, in which she encouraged them to choose Harvard.

“Whether you are an aspiring artist or scientist, whether you are from Minneapolis or Mumbai,” wrote Faust, “whether your passions find you on the playing field or in the orchestra pit, whether you draw your intellectual energy from parsing texts or debating policy issues or writing code, I hope we will have the privilege of your joining the Harvard community.”

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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