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The Engineering School enjoyed a boom in undergraduate matriculation this summer, resulting in the biggest freshman class in the school's history. The class of 395 students is nearly 27 percent larger than last year's class of 312, despite a four percent decline in the total number of applications the school received. "Many other engineering schools suffered a drop," Engineering Dean Gregory Farrington said last week. "We suddenly find ourselves overwhelmed." And while the school accepted 98 more students than last year, virtually no administration officials expected such a large jump in the matriculation rate -- from 38.1 percent to 43.1 percent. "We accepted a few more because we thought the pool deserved it and we were shooting for a bigger class," Admissions Dean Willis Stetson said last week. But Stetson and other officials said he did not expect such a large increase. "We typically shoot for 350 students -- last year's class size was 312, this year's is 395," said John Keenan, associate dean of Engineering. While Engineering School officials work to accomodate the extra large class, many attributed the rise to an aggressive video marketing program to all admitted students. The program, held over a weekend last February, was expected to draw 30 women who applied to the school, but close to 100 attended. The attendees met with female professors and students to combat a stereotype of Engineering as a male-dominated school. As a result, Keenan said, the percentage of women in the freshman class increased from 20 to 22. "Those two things contributed more than anything else," Keenan said. "I think [the video] helped because the video shows what engineering is." Although they praised the video, Engineering freshmen said they made their choices based on other factors. "It was informative," said Engineering freshman Garth Feeney. "It showed they had good facilities and a good reputation, but it really didn't push me one way or the other." The increase is not expected to strain any of the school's individual departments since it will be evenly distributed, Farrington said. And while lecture sizes rose for a few courses, most did not change. Engineering freshmen take most of their courses in the College, so the effects of the large class will not be felt by the Engineering School until next year. And according to Norman Adler, associate dean of the College, the College is not having a problem absorbing the extra students either. "It doesn't really have an impact on the College," Adler said. "The College is happy to have them." The Engineering School currently is considering what changes must be made to accomodate the class next year. But Farrington said that hiring additional teachers is not among the options. The large class "will present a challenge to the school," said Farrington. "I think we're up to meeting it."

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