Admission officers deny ‘friending’ prospective students

October 6, 2009

Is Big Brother (on campus) watching you?

Though some universities, such as Hofstra University in New York, created admissions-specific social networking accounts, new media specialist Amy Peterson said she manages TCU's Facebook and Twitter sites differently.

"We use Facebook as a way to have a conversation with current students," she said.

Peterson said she relays questions from Facebook that she is unable to answer to the admissions office, but the admissions counselors have no direct contact with the students who asked these questions.

Prospective students sent more questions regarding deadlines, financial aid and general admissions questions to the university's Twitter account, Peterson said.

"(Twitter) gets used a lot as a help place, like a help desk," Peterson said.

Rainwater said the university's Facebook fan base spanned wider than prospective students. Most of the fans on the university's Facebook site are college students or alumni.

However, admissions counselors do promote the university's social networking sites, Rainwater said.

"As part of our marketing process we send an e-mail out to all of our prospective students that we have e-mail for...and we provide them with direct links to the Facebook fan page, the Twitter page and the Flickr page, which we actually use really frequently," Rainwater said.

Rainwater said that the addition of an admissions-specific Web site would make finding information confusing.

"We really feel like, in terms of communicating students, the official university Facebook page that Amy Peterson manages is just a central location for all information," Rainwater said.

J.D. says: “Warning! College admissions offices are using all resources available to find out about your student. Keep your Facebook, Myspace, Youtube videos and other pictures, videos or other internet posts kosher and clean. A posted picture of an under aged minor at a party with empty beer bottles all around could be enough to keep you out of your top choice college even if you did not partake in any alcoholic consumption. Also be careful that if you select a fan page for a particular college, that it really is the college’s fan page. Some spammers and marketing companies are creating bogus fan pages to collect names and email address simply to sell them something."

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