Admissions on Facebook

Admissions officials around the world have also starting utilizing Facebook to their advantage. Many Universities around the worl dhave created admissions pages on Facebook in an attempt to interact with students on their own ground."They're probably not visiting our Web site every day, but they are most likely checking their Facebook page every day," Healey said. "We decided, let's be where they are, instead of trying to change their behavior."[1] These pages are used to announce news and events, to create discussion forums for prospective students and to create a medium of direct contact between students and administrators.

"College and graduate school admissions officers are on the cutting edge of this," said Nora Ganim Barnes, director for the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, who recently conducted a study of that found that 29% of university admissions departments surveyed used social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (NWS)—a level higher than fast-growing Inc. 500 corporate respondents. "If you're an undergraduate or graduate institution and you're looking to attract people 35 and under, then I think you have to go to Facebook because that's where your opportunity is," she said. [2]

Critics of this phenomenon have critiqued these pages, and accused administrators of using these pages to 'spy' on students through their Facebook profiles and perform background checks on students.

A new survey of 500 top colleges found that 10% of admissions officers acknowledged looking at social-networking sites to evaluate applicants. Of those colleges making use of the online information, 38% said that what they saw "negatively affected" their views of the applicant. Only a quarter of the schools checking the sites said their views were improved, according to the survey by education company Kaplan, a unit of Washington Post Co.

Some admissions officers said they had rejected students because of material on the sites. Jeff Olson, who heads research for Kaplan's test-preparation division, says one university did so after the student gushed about the school while visiting the campus, then trashed it online. Kaplan promised anonymity to the colleges, of which 320 responded. The company surveyed schools with the most selective admissions. (Hechinger)



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