Facebook Linking College Students And Administrators

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
January 4, 2010

Facebook is increasingly being used as a tool for incoming college students to network with each other, research prospective schools, and connect with college officials.

The Washington Post reports that early admission students at George Washington University connected on Facebook within hours of receiving news of their acceptances in early December. Six GWU Class of 2014 groups currently exist on Facebook, where students discuss topics such as dormitories, financial aid and college life.

"I already have a sense of having a class of close-knit friends," said Ryan Counihan, a high school senior from Boston who has already connected with future GWU classmates and was interviewed by the Post. "We definitely have a leg up. . . . We have an extra four months or so to get to know each other."

Steve Roche, director of GWU's freshman orientation program, told the Post that incoming freshman often enter college knowing 30 or 40 other people through social networking. "It's good because it makes them feel more comfortable," he said. Nevertheless, he noted, "Just in my experience, those friendships don't last more than a week or two into the semester."

Facebook is also allowing college officials to connect with prospective students, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina.

"I think the college is just recognizing that virtually all of our students are connecting on Facebook," said Michael Dechane, communications director at Montreat College, who was quoted by the Citizen-Times. "And an increasing number of parents, graduates and alumni are using it to communicate, so it's a useful piece of technology for us to reconnect parts of our community."

But some question the effectiveness and accuracy of a college's portrayal on Facebook. Richard Blomgren, dean of admissions at Warren Wilson College, told the Citizen-Times that getting information about a college through the social networking site is "no different than high school students standing in the hall at their school talking about what they liked or didn't like at the college they visited."

Others point out, meanwhile, that Facebook is not the appopriate place to announce one's acceptance to college. Rebecca Reddicliffe, a freshman at Northwestern University, writes in The New York Times that such status updates merely add to the stress and anxiety of the college application process.

"By announcing what college you got into," she notes, "you are obnoxiously broadcasting personal information that probably only 20 of your Facebook friends actually care about. And then there's that girl in your physics class who was just rejected from the same college; she had finally stopped crying but the tears started right back up when she saw your status."

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