Tag Archives: Facebook

Admission Counselors on Facebook?

Nothin’ like twisting around some statistics to start off your Monday.

Higher ed and Admission folks may have missed this article over the weekend from All Facebook but twitter was well… a-twitter with this Huffington Post story this morning that ominously warns prospective students to clean up their Facebook profile or else be rejected from every school you have applied to.

Comparing apples to oranges

To state (in the original article) that “Four out of every five college admissions offices use Facebook to recruit students” is not equivalent to “Four out of five college admission offices use Facebook in the application decision making process” which is the conclusion that the Huffington Post jumps to.

This blatant misrepresentation of Kaplan’s statistics (which I can’t seem to find) is frustrating.

Admission Officers are busy

I spent two years in Admissions and during reading season you are… big surprise… READING!  God help me if I had time to do anything else.  I google’d an applicant once because the essay seemed too good to be true given the student’s test scores and transcript, but even in that case I was googling the essay and not the student herself.

(The essay was too good to be true, but that is besides the point.)

Mark Rothbaum of Varsity Outreach (a company that designs customized college Facebook apps for “community building and targeted communication” between admission’s and prospective students) told me, “I haven’t talked to a single admission counselor who has searched for a student on Facebook.”

St. Mike’s is considered one of the 80% of schools that use Facebook to connect with students, but that’s all we do, we connect with them and we do it appropriately – through Pages and Groups.  Admission counselors aren’t friending students or witch hunting them.  I continue to connect with hundreds of prospective students via the Class of 2015 Group, but I will never click on a student’s name to see their profile.  I don’t have the time and frankly, I don’t care.

Are you John Smith? Or John Smith?

Have you ever accidentally friended the wrong person?  Maybe not, because there is a good chance you can recognize them from their photo.

I just did a search for John Smith of Boston, MA.  Do you want to guess how many results were returned? 8 bagillion.

Most admission offices do not require head shots to accompany the application.  If I don’t know what John looks like there is no chance of me finding the correct one, and remember I don’t have time to be doing this search anyway…

Is this even legal?

In my conversation with Mark, he raised the question of the legality of all of this.  That’s an answer neither of us had and one I doubt a school wants to be put in a position to find out.

What’s your take on these articles?  Are you an admission counselor that consider the Facebook profile of their applicants?

UPDATE 1:  Here is the Kaplan Survey that both articles referenced.  Big thanks to Katye Robare Munger for locating it.

The results actual say that the majority of schools do not have official policies regarding using social media in the decision making process and of the schools that do have a policy, nearly half are not even allowed to visit the social networking site.  This question is asked completely separately from the question “Do you use Facebook to recruit prospective students?”

UPDATE 2: What does an Admission Counselor actually look for in an applicant?  Carrie Pratt, Admission Counselor at Saint Michael’s, writes this blog post.

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“Chance me” Facebook! Will I get in?

Mom: “Hello, my daughter Laura was rejected from your fine institution today but 6 months ago Facebook told her she had “big happy face” great chance of getting accepted.  Explain yourselves!”

Mary Ann, Director of Admissions at Broadway Rules University: “Sorry, but Broadway Rules had a record number of highly qualified applicants this year and Laura’s grades and test scores didn’t make the cut.”
OR
Mary Ann, Director of Admissions at Broadway Rules University: “Sorry, but there are more factors to the admission process than just grades and test scores and we felt like Laura wasn’t the right fit overall for Broadway Rules.”
OR
Mary Ann, Director of Admissions at Broadway Rules University: “Sorry, but the recommendation letters we received all said that Laura is a pompous jerk who doesn’t work hard or care about excelling in the classroom.  That’s not the type of student who succeeds at Broadway Rules.”
OR
Mary Ann, Director of Admissions at Broadway Rules University: “Sorry, but Laura’s 3 paragraph essay on her uncle who kills cats did not impress our admission office.”
OR …

Point made, I hope.  The admission process is A LOT more than the basic set of questions presented by AdmissionSplash, the new Facebook App which attempts to predict if a student will get into the colleges on their list.

It is surprising to me that AdmissionSplash is making waves (heh heh), because this is not a new concept.  In admissions we call this “chance me.”  AdmissionSplash is not the first, nor will it be the last, of these types of sites.  MyChances.net, College Confidential, and Collegedata.com are all sites designed to match you to the “right” college based on your interests, grades, test scores, and more.  The buzz must be because this is the first “chance me” on Facebook and it allows you to share your results with your friends.

As a former admission counselor I can sit here and tell you that the admission process is more than just grades and test scores until I am blue in the face.  If it wasn’t then there would be no need for admission counselors, they’d be replaced by computers.  But high school students and their families love the “chance me” game.  They crave the (false?) assurances that these types of sites can give them while waiting for the decision letter to come in the mail.

These sites are flawed.  Each year is different for admission offices and the “type” of students they accept – based on enrollment needs, number of applications, etc.  Knowing the profile at Saint Michael’s College I entered in a number of different profile possibilities – some I knew would be clear admits/denys and others I knew were gray areas.   To say the least, I was disappointed with the results that AdmissionSplash spit out at me.  While I can’t speak for the three other colleges on my list,  the data I entered to get the results below should have produced the “fair” or “good” face for St. Mike’s.

admission splash image
What do you think?  How seriously do prospective families take a “chance me” site or app?  Can we trivialize the entire admission process down to just a few data points?


Should your bloggers be tweeters too?

Got Student Bloggers?

What else are you using them for?  Not to brag, but my SMC Bloggers are an impressive bunch and they’re doing a lot more than just blogging.  They are the face of St. Mike’s online recruitment efforts.  They manage Formspring accounts, participate in live chats with prospective students, film campus events, create videos, connect with prospects on Facebook and NING, and they tweet. I feel like a proud mom.

The hope is that you’ll meet them in one space and then recognize them in another.  When high-schooler Suzie is chillin in the Class of 2015 Facebook group, I want her to feel comfortable.  Hopefully she’ll be more apt to engage because she’s been reading Gabbi and Dan’s blogs and now she sees them answering questions and starting conversations on Facebook.

With that thinking in mind, this academic year I made it a requirement of the SMC Bloggers to use twitter.  (It was “highly encouraged” in years prior.)   Now I know there’s plenty of talk out there that says students under 18 aren’t tweeting.  Yes, I read  The Chronicle article and I saw the results of Noel-Levitz E-Expectations survey.   So am I wasting their time?

Nope.

During the 2009-2010 school year on SMCBlogs the 9 bloggers who were tweeting were by far the most “popular” bloggers.  During the year their blogs received about 550 visits/month.  The non-tweeters?  Only about 230 visits/month.

The most active tweeters continue to see the highest traffic to their blogs.
Over the past month the 5 most active students on twitter received an average of 347.2 blog visits.

We can compare this to:
5 students who do not use twitter* received an average of 167.5 blog visits.
5 “less-active” twitter users received an average of 114.2 blog visits.

Of course, there are many more factors going into why these students are (or are not) seeing traffic to their blogs and I know that twitter usage is not the only one.  Yet, I don’t think you can fight these numbers.  The active tweeters have more traffic to their blogs.  Plain and simple.

I want to hear from you.  I think there is a lot to talk about here.

Should your student bloggers be tweeters too?

*The 5 students not using twitter are volunteer blogging and are not paid, thus are not required to use twitter.  The SMC Bloggers that are contracted and paid are required to tweet.


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