Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have five seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2013 to June 2014!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.
I got into college. My friends got into college. There are fewer than twenty real days of school left. High school is, to quote Fergie, so “two-thousand and late”; I, along with many of my college-bound peers, am ready to get on campus, meet lots of new people, and partake in the spoils of higher education. If only I could start this cool new college life right now.
Well, thanks to the power of the World Wide Web, I can! (Albeit virtually.)
Over the past year, I’ve encountered numerous college-related social media. Some allow students to correspond with each other, and some relay information (subjective or objective) about the school. Some are controlled by the college’s administration, while others are lead by students. But they all have one thing in common: they are completely accessible to me, the overly excited prefrosh. As such, I have utilized these various resources to glean as much information as possible about my pending alma mater, Wesleyan University. I’ve had a range of experiences while trying to vicariously attend college over the internet, and I’ve learned how to handle the common pitfalls one encounters while doing so. Here, I’ll go through the most common types of college-related social media, how I’ve used them, and how they should not be used.
The Admitted Students Facebook Group
This is probably the most obvious one. A major topic of conversation among my senior class is the funny, strange, or amusing things we’ve seen on our respective colleges’ groups. (Also, gushing about how many attractive people there are.) Here, people generally introduce themselves to other members of their class and share how excited they are to start school.
I haven’t had a particularly positive relationship with Wesleyan’s Class of 2018 Facebook Group. After I got in through ED, I took a look at it and saw that it was, like, 80% upperclassmen “trolling” prefrosh. It wasn’t particularly fun or interesting. Since regular decision letters were released, it’s shifted more towards its intended use. I still don’t go on it very frequently because I am awkward and not very good at making small talk with strangers over the internet. Still, from my lurking, it looks like other people are enjoying it, and it’s a good resource for meeting and talking to other incoming freshmen.
The Official Twitters and Tumblrs
These are the accounts run by the colleges themselves or student organizations. They typically aim to promote the school and/or share information about the cool stuff happening there on any given day. If you’re looking for positive information about a college, these are a go-to. Here, you’ll see what sports team just won a game and which alumnus just received another award. They often put effort into keeping up a good reputation, too. When my friend tweeted that she was going to Boston College, their official twitter responded with a smiley face and a “Welcome!” within five minutes. I myself have spent a good amount of time on Wesleyan Photo marveling at the picturesque campus and students who seem to always be elated.
Obviously, these pages are biased in favor of the school, and won’t give you as comprehensive a perspective as a real student could. But as long as you are aware of that, these are a great way to get pumped up about all the awesome stuff a college has to offer.
The College Confidential Page
College Confidential has a page for most American universities. Like any page on this infamous forum, you’ll find the “Chance Me” threads, people sharing their “stats,” and concerned parents asking how prestigious the college is (insert groan here). However, you’ll also find current students who are happy to give their honest opinions on academics, student life, financial aid, et cetera. There are some jaded, unhelpful people—I once encountered a post made by someone named “WesleyanIsBad” that was just a multi-paragraph rant about how Wesleyan students are stupid. But on the whole, most of the students I’ve talked to have been helpful and shared their honest, fair opinions of the school.
College Confidential is a highly flawed community that can instill unnecessary stress and confusion in high school students. But, if you know how to avoid the blatant elitism and obnoxious people, you can use it to your advantage.
The Bottom Line
Take everything you read online with a grain of salt, since you ultimately won’t know what college is like until you are actually there. But if you’re like me, and you’re desperate for anything college-y you can get your hands on, you’re bound to find your way to at least some of these social media one way or another. As long as you understand the limitations and drawbacks of internet communications like these, they can be a valuable resource. Just don’t expect to find your new bestie on the facebook group, and don’t believe some rando on a forum who says that “everyone here is a pothead.” Stay smart, stay safe, and have fun on your travels through cyberspace!
You can get in touch with Celeste by shooting her a message on her Tumblr.