O-Week begins Sunday

Rice University’s Class of 2017 can expect a Texas-sized welcome Sunday as they move to campus and participate in O-Week, the weeklong orientation program to familiarize incoming students with their new campus, residential colleges and classmates.

This year’s freshman class of 983 students, selected from a pool of 15,415 applicants, exceeded this year’s enrollment goal, according to Vice President for Enrollment Chris Muñoz. The number of applicants increased 2 percent from 2012.

Muñoz also noted that the university remains quite exclusive, with an acceptance rate of only 17 percent. Thirty-eight percent of incoming students had a perfect high school grade point average, and test scores have continued to improve. The SAT 25th percentile for incoming students is 1400 (meaning that 75 percent of Rice students scored 1400 or higher on their combined SAT), and the 75th percentile for incoming students is 1520 (meaning that 25 percent of Rice students scored 1520 or higher). This is compared with 2012, when the 25th percentile stood at 1390 and the 75th percentile at 1510.

“I am encouraged for the future when I see the types of students applying to Rice because I know what they will bring to the university and eventually the world,” Muñoz said. “I’m confident that whatever challenges we will face, students are preparing to meet them – and they’re at Rice.”

Less than half – 46 percent – of incoming students call Texas home, and the freshman class “continues to be very ethnically diverse – on par with previous years,” Muñoz said.

Move-in day will kick off around 7 a.m. Sunday when upperclassmen and Rice Owl football players greet the new arrivals and help them move their belongings to their residential college rooms. Parents and family members are invited to participate in New Families Orientation, which will include presentations by Rice President David Leebron and other faculty, staff and student representatives and information sessions on subjects ranging from academic advising to financial aid to wellness.

After saying goodbye to their parents, new students will gather for matriculation at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse, where Leebron, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson and Student Association President Yoonjin Min will offer words of wisdom for the students’ next four years on campus. Later in the evening, the freshmen will make the ceremonial march through Rice’s Sallyport into the Academic Quad to mark the official beginning of their college career. Tradition holds that students will not pass through the Sallyport again until their graduation day.

Activities and presentations throughout the coming week will introduce new students to the ins and outs of life at Rice by providing academic advising, assistance with class registration, small-group discussions, faculty lectures, community outreach and opportunities to explore Houston. In addition, the new Owls will enjoy traditional Texas cuisine and the company of their classmates during a barbecue dinner at the president’s home Aug. 19.

Other activities scheduled for the week include a pep rally at Rice stadium Aug. 20, the annual Associates’ Dinner Aug. 21, the Rice Carnival Aug. 22 and Houston Night Out Aug. 23. Approximately half of the incoming class will become engaged with the Houston community Aug. 24 through volunteer service at various Outreach Day sites. O-Week will conclude later that day with the Welcome Back Day Festival in the Central Quad. Fall classes begin Aug. 26.

Public Affairs will again collect students’ photos, videos and tweets from O-Week to share the experience on rice.edu. Students have been asked to include #oweek2013 on their posts, videos and tweets; a compilation of their communications can be found by clicking on #oweek2013 at the top of rice.edu.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.