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Kathleen O'Toole, News Service (650) 725-1939; e-mail:

Admitted students get advice on how to digest The Farm experience

"Don't ask Stanford students what they like here. Ask them what they have changed."

This piece of advice from Robert Kinnally, dean of undergraduate admission, was delivered to prospective students and their parents who visited campus April 13 to 15 as part of Admit Weekend. Kinnally, who had read thousands of applicant essays, told the students they were accepted because of their "initiative, deep love of learning and commitment to the larger world. We saw you making a difference at Stanford and in the world that will be yours once you leave The Farm." The way to test the fit, he suggested, was for them to explore with existing Stanford students the changes they had made here.

The three-day event drew about 1,000 students who have been accepted for admission to the Class of 2004 and about 700 parents who got a taste of Stanford's personality, from the zany band and a cappella concerts to sessions on undergraduate research opportunities and the "Death Tour" of burial places of Stanford founders and others.

John Hennessy, provost and president designate, gave the prospective Stanford students his list of the best things about Stanford in a greeting at Memorial Auditorium. He stressed the unusually wide range of academic subjects and athletic and recreational activities, and students' ability to change their majors or to choose a double major. They also will find distinct residential communities, overseas studies programs, peers from whom they can learn, faculty who treasure working closely with undergraduates in such programs as Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Freshman Seminars, and a commitment to excellence, fairness and responsibility dating back to Stanford's founders. Hennessy, who founded his own computer company, also mentioned the "entrepreneurial culture," which, he said, had led Stanford to do more than any other research university in recent years to improve undergraduate education. "And that is just the beginning," he promised.

Perhaps to balance his own success story in computer science, Hennessy urged students to explore many fields of study and noted that Carly Fiorina, the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, the world's second-largest computer company, majored in medieval history and philosophy at Stanford.

Admit Weekend was run by a team of 180 volunteers led by student coordinators Adam Fingerhut and Emily Perez. More than 1,300 Stanford students signed up to host the visitors in their residences.


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