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Weekend for students admitted to the Class of 2014 begins today

Admit Weekend 2010 features tours (of campus, residence halls, Green Library), open houses, lectures, panels, a picnic lunch, a Stanford v. Cal baseball game, dorm dinners, concerts and the ever-popular Q&A with President John Hennessy.

At Stanford, known for its fondness for acronyms, prospective freshmen – in this case, those admitted to the Class of 2014 – are affectionately known as "ProFros."

A record number of ProFros – 1,350 – and their families are expected to arrive on campus today for Admit Weekend 2010, a three-day event designed to showcase undergraduate education at Stanford.

The university has offered admission to 2,300 students, who have until May 1 to accept Stanford's offer.

Shawn Abbott, director of admission, said the university expects nearly 2,800 guests, including students and their families, during the April 22-24 event.

Abbott said the most notable event this year is the addition of "YSU," a new closing ceremony, which will feature a keynote address by alumnus Scott Forstall, the senior vice president of iPhone and iPad software development at Apple Computer Inc. Forstall earned a bachelor's degree in symbolic systems in 1991 and a master's degree in computer science in 1992 – both from Stanford.

The ProFros will stay in the dorms – they were asked to bring sleeping bags and pillows – and will be able to tour residence halls, from the all-frosh Larkin House in Stern Hall on the east side of campus, to the all-class Roble Hall on the west side.

In keeping with the Stanford tradition, their student hosts, known as Room Hosts, are referred to as "RoHos."

After sifting through descriptions of 20 Academic Expo sessions scheduled for Friday and Saturday, undergraduate Kevin Leung selected several lectures to highlight on The Unofficial Stanford Blog, including:

  • Ethical Considerations in Public Service – Rob Reich. Honestly, I don’t know much about this guy, but he’s on my list for 2 reasons. 1) I’ve heard good things about him and 2) he teaches the IHUM [Introduction to the Humanities course]: Freedom, Equality, Difference. I personally would probably rather watch Batman & Robin twice than sit through this, but if this is your sort of thing, it might be worth it to go for a test-run because you should CHOOSE YOUR IHUM WISELY. [Rob Reich is an associate professor of political science.]
  • Your Computer is More Random Than You Think It Is: How probability theory underlies web search, email, and many other things your computer doesMehran Sahami. Mehran is one of the most popular lecturers on campus. Of note, he teaches the introductory computer science class in the fall (for which he is an iTunes star: search “programming methodology” on the iTunes store), in which he throws candy for asking and answering questions, and delivers some of the funniest lectures I have ever heard. Oh, and he basically invented spam filtering. [Sahami is an associate professor of computer science.]
  • The Role of Sleep in Achieving Success at StanfordWilliam Dement. Sleep and Dreams is one of the most popular courses at Stanford, as Dr. Dement (THE sleep doctor) is absolutely hilarious and has all sorts of good things to tell you about sleeping. I assure you, you will never see anything like his narcoleptic dogs that fall asleep when they get excited. And if you’re wondering about his street cred, he was on the team that discovered REM sleep. You will never have so much fun in a lecture. [Dement is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.]

Leung, a junior majoring in symbolic systems, also recommended hiking The Dish, attending the "A Cappella Concert" and taking in the Activities Fair.

"Sure, classes are important, faculty are famous, the campus is beautiful, but if you’re going to fall in love with anything at Stanford, it’s the passion and intellectual vitality of the students," Leung wrote. "You’ll get to meet all sorts of amazing groups, from the band to chess club. They range from minor hobbies to important activities, but they’re absolutely worth getting to know and getting involved with."

Admit Weekend 2010 also includes many events specifically designed for parents.