A record number of students and parents spent three days learning more about the Brown University experience as they neared the May 1 decision deadline.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — When more than 100 admitted Brown University students stepped off a train on Tuesday at Providence Station, they were immediately serenaded by student a cappella group The Brown Derbies, whose first song — George Michael’s “Faith” — implored the potential members of the class of 2020 to “please, please, please don’t go away.”

The students, who had boarded the Amtrak train at various stops from Washington to Hartford, Connecticut, arrived together for A Day on College Hill — or ADOCH, pronounced ā dock — an annual rite of passage in which admitted students get an in-depth look at what it’s like to be a Brown undergraduate before deciding whether to accept their offers. This year’s event brought an unprecedented 915 students and more than 700 parents to campus from across the country and the globe.

“This is a tremendously important decision, and we want students to feel good about making this choice," said James Miller, Brown’s dean of admission. “We introduce admitted students to the whole tapestry of what a Brown experience will be. It’s important for them to get a sense of the types of opportunities they will have both intellectually and socially, as well as to learn what kind of resources our community has."

No longer a daylong experience as first envisioned more than three decades ago, the three-day Brownapalooza featured a packed schedule of activities and events, including overnight stays in University residence halls, visits to classes, lectures from professors, information sessions on Brown's many extracurricular options, and an exhaustive variety of activities that included a late-night game of capture the flag, a salsa workshop, a science trivia showdown and a midnight comedy show.

Additionally, ADOCH offered opportunities for the parents of admitted students to independently tour the campus and learn more about the University services and resources that will support their children while at Brown.

To pull ADOCH off each year, hundreds of current undergraduates volunteer their time, hosting the admitted students in their dorms, shepherding them around campus and leading a diverse array of activities, shows, presentations and performances that highlight student life at Brown.

"A large number of admits who come to ADOCH are convinced by the experience to come to Brown,” Miller said. “The event is crucial in our efforts to build the best student body we can, and our current students are by far our best salespeople.”

Miller says that students and alumni often cite ADOCH as the deciding factor on why they chose Brown. Some admitted students come to ADOCH still unsure about whether or not they will attend Brown. Others come just to confirm their decision and to get know to the school a little better.

“Brown has been my dream school for a couple of years, and I’m here to make sure that this is where I want to end up in the fall,” said Amber Yildizel, a student from Islip, New York. “Everyone here is really enthusiastic, and I can tell that they care about the school. I’ve also been sitting in on classes; they seem really interesting, and I like that they’re not too big.”

For Sabrina Curtis, who traveled to ADOCH from the island of Molokaʻi in Hawaii, this visit to Brown was her first. “I’m from a little rural island, so living in a city would be really different,” she said. “This school is bigger than my town, so I wanted to see it before I decided where I go.”

Curtis says she was attracted to Brown because it’s a school where she can pursue a degree in mechanical engineering but also have room in her schedule to pursue her other passions, like Japanese and the arts.

Brown President Christina Paxson spoke to Curtis's multidisciplinary interests in her welcoming remarks on ADOCH’s first day.

“Rather than present you with boundaries, Brown provides you with opportunities so that you can make the most of your time in college in exactly the way that is right for you,” Paxson told the admitted students. “Brown is truly a place that will encourage you to be your creative, motivated selves, at every turn, every step of the way to Commencement.”

Admitted students must decide by May 2 whether or not to accept their offer of admission to Brown.