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Facebook Changing College Decisions Process

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

April 7, 2009

Students are discussing their college acceptances and rejections on Facebook, while college admission officials are monitoring students' deliberations with interest.

Time reports that while acceptances and rejections to institutions of higher learning may have once been kept private, that information is now being publicized widely as many clamor to join Facebook groups such as "New York University Class of 2013." The Facebook groups allow individuals to get a taste of what the new students are like, and to discuss pros and cons of attending schools before making a final decision about where to attend.

"You can kind of tell what the students are like," said Sophie Ramayat, who joined the NYU 2013 group and groups for three other schools she was accepted into-the University of Richmond, the University of Washington and American University. "I noticed that everyone at the University of Richmond is white."

College officials have turned to Facebook to aid their understanding of what makes students choose a particular school.

"Facebook has been a wonderful way for us to hear what students are thinking," said M.J. Knoll-Finn, vice president of enrollment at Emerson College in Massachusetts. "Before, we'd only hear from the exceptionally ecstatic or upset student who bothered to write in, but now we can see exactly what the average accepted student is thinking and how they're deciding between schools."

Emerson is one of the few schools that runs its own Facebook page. There, Mike Petroff, Emerson's Web manager, responds to students' questions about the school while providing them with a place to connect with each other.

But some high school seniors are hesitating to publicize their acceptances, fearing that friends who were rejected to the same college may feel badly knowing that others were admitted. The Los Angeles Times reports on Amaru Tejeda and Yureli Lopez, who agreed to post Pomona College's response to their applications on Facebook. Nevertheless, Tejedu waited until seeing his friend's Facebook "status update" indicate that she had been accepted. Only then did he send an instant message relaying that he had also gotten in.

Then Lopez found out that she was also accepted to Occidental College in Los Angeles, a school another friend had hoped to attend. She decided not to post her acceptance, concerned about how her friend would react to the news.

"That's the worst-case scenario," she said. "When one of your best friends got accepted to the school you really wanted to get into and you didn't."

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