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Residential programs in on-campus housing range from the academic Ancient Studies/University Museum program in Harnwell College House to the cultural Hill College House’s Exploring Philadelphia program. First created in 1998, residential programs are a way for students to build communities within college houses.

The Harrison Freshman Experience allows upperclassmen to mentor freshmen in a unique way. Next year, 23 upperclassmen will be able to join 82 freshmen on floors 11, 12 and 13 of Harrison. Because so many freshman apply, only a third of freshman who list the Freshman Experience program as their first choice are accepted, whereas about half of the upperclassmen who apply as mentors are accepted.

Upperclassmen can apply online starting Jan. 11, where they will be asked about extra-curricular activities and plans for the future, according to Wharton senior Beth Deane, the coordinator of the Freshman Experience.

Because upperclassmen are often paired with freshman who don’t necessarily share all the same interests, said Eric Sun, a Wharton sophomore, “getting to know completely different people [was] good to just help out with very different questions they have.”

Unlike other mentoring programs, Sun said, the Freshman Experience program, or FreshEx as it’s known by members, allows him to bond with different students in a relaxed environment, while baking cookies or playing Twister.

When Sun was a freshman in FreshEx, he enjoyed how “close-knit” the community was. “You always say hi to the people you were in the program with last year … more than a head nod,” he said. Because there is a Resident Adviser or Graduate Associate on each floor in addition to the Program Coordinator, FreshEx fosters a unique community. “We really treasure this program because it attracts people who are very often going to be staying in the house … all four years and end up being the house contributors,” Deane said. “You can feel that positive energy whenever you go to house events,” added Sun.

Other students, such as College sophomore Sophie Boree Kim, applied for residential programs to get into a high rise and meet people with shared interests. Kim, a member of Rodin’s Musical Engagement program, has enjoyed the perks of access to large practice rooms and music technology. “The people I have met are all amazing as well,” Kim wrote in an email. “We all share a common passion for music yet our taste and [abilities and instruments] differ.”

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