The class banners hanging in Thorne Dining Hall have moved one spot to the right to make room for the newest addition to Bowdoin: the Class of 2012.

The class'489 students drawn from a pool of 6,033 candidates?constitutes one of the most diverse and selective classes in the history of the College.

Through early and regular decision programs, the Office of Admissions accepted 1,020 students out of the candidate pool?or approximately 18.6 percent of applicants for the Class of 2012.

Of the first-year class, Interim Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn said, "I think they're fantastic. Everybody feels like the staff here in admissions did a great job bringing in a group of interesting and talented people."

The College also enrolled 159 students of color in the Class of 2012, a record high. Minority students make up approximately 33 percent of the Class of 2012, a 3 percent increase from minority enrollment numbers for the Class of 2011.

For the first time in several years, the first-year class is composed of more men than women: 257 and 232, respectively.

"Last year's incoming class had 226 men and 250 women," said Interim Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn. "So the numbers have flip-flopped a bit. Overall, these statistics are still keeping in line with a 50-50 gender balance here."

Fifty-seven and one-tenth percent of students from the Class of 2012 attended public high schools, while 10.2 percent and 32.7 percent come from parochial and independent schools, respectively.

"We also saw an interesting change in geographic and international diversity," said Mieklejohn.

The number of international students nearly doubled from last year's admissions cycle, with 22 countries represented in the Class of 2012. Forty-one of the 50 states are represented, as opposed to 39 in the Class of 2011. The Eastern seaboard is well represented in the Class of 2012, with 39.4 percent hailing from New England and 21.2 percent from the Mid-Atlantic States. The College also saw a sizeable increase in students from the West Coast, bringing in 13.1 percent compared with last year's 9.9 percent.

Three hundred and twenty students?roughly 65 percent of the Class of 2012?arrived at Bowdoin on August 26 to embark on Pre-Orientation (Pre-O) trips led by the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC). Thirty additional students participated in community immersion Pre-O trips organized by the McKeen Center for the Common Good.

"The Pre-O trips this year were as smooth as ever," said Outing Club Assistant Director Bree Simmons. "First years came back beaming, groups hugged in tight circles, and the leaders shared a look and a smile that had success written all over it."

Students returned from Pre-O trips on August 30 to join the remaining members of the Class of 2012 for five days of orientation activities. Residential halls also opened officially for move-in at this time.

Residential Life made several changes in dorm configurations this year, most notably with the elimination of the "quiet dorm" and the addition of two chem-free floors in Coleman Hall. In addition to the basement and first floors of Coleman, Hyde Hall has also been designated chem-free housing for first-years.

"Normally, ResLife designates one dorm to be chem-free, but there was a higher demand for [chem-free housing] this year without the quiet dorm option," said first floor Coleman proctor Shalmai Rivera '10.

Whether the two chem-free floors will integrate smoothly with the rest of Coleman is something Rivera is anxious about.

"There hasn't been a ton of floor mixing, but it is just the beginning of the year," she said.

"The other proctors and I are trying to make the top three floors not isolated from the bottom two, but it is not always the easiest thing to do," she added.

Despite a busy orientation schedule, first years found ample time to enjoy their first week on campus.

"I think orientation and the first few days of school have been a lot of fun," said Anitra Sprauten '12. "We're still in that stage when we are in that first part of college without all the stress of classes and busy schedules."

One complaint raised by several first years was a lack of activities outside of their proctor group.

"I found that we got to know our floor really well, but that we did not have many opportunities to meet anyone else," commented first year Jordan Lalor.

Elizabeth Maybank '12 agreed. "I wished there had been more random groupings amongst our class during orientation," she said.

But the Class of 2012 seems to have acclimated well to life on campus.

"Meeting people has been the easiest part of adjusting to college," said Sydney Miller '12. It was a pleasant surprise to see how everyone is so friendly here."