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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Class of 2018 Facebook Group (for students only!)

I try to create as many avenues for applicants to chat and ask questions as possible.  This is why I'm available here (I answer questions in the comments on posts) and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and email.

Sometimes, you'll want to chat with each other and ask questions in a student-only space.  You can do that in the Class of 2018 Facebook group.  In the spirit of student self-governance, which is a big deal here at UVa, this is a space just for students

Click the image to go to the group on Facebook!

Obviously, the group will be for students who hope they'll be members of the Class of 2018 at this point.  This is normal.  The membership of the group will evolve as decisions are released and students start committing to colleges.

I am not in the Class of 2018 group, so if you have application questions and want to ask them on Facebook, you can use the Notes from Peabody Facebook page.

How UVa Admission Officers Use Facebook

The express version: 
We aren't searching for you on Facebook. 

So why am I on Facebook?
Years ago, an enterprising young college student had an idea to market a business to college bound students through Facebook in a new way.  Through made up Facebook accounts, he or his unpaid interns became administrators for hundreds of "Class of 20xx" Facebook groups for colleges all around the country.

Back then, most admission folks let Facebook groups grow organically.  Some excited student would start a group for their class and others would join as they got their admission decisions. I shared that view. After the made up accounts were connected by a group of admission officers interested in social media, what was happening got picked up by the media and dubbed "Facebookgate."  The full story unfolds on the Squared Peg blog.

Each year since, that same enterprising, young man has tweaked his practices and tried again, more recently for a roommate matching website (our students have created their own roommate matching surveys on the class Facebook pages for years). In 2010, even The Choice blog at the New York Times covered what was happening and the Washington Post covered it as well.

Why am I telling you this?  So you understand why I stepped in a few years ago to create class groups on Facebook.  I have absolutely no interest in tracking you or looking at your profiles.  My interest is in creating a group for each class where content won't include advertisements and your information won't be mined (my worry with groups that are tied to a company).

There are two current students who run the Class of 2018 group. When your class elects officers, they will hand the group over to your chosen leaders. We've been doing this for about five years and it works beautifully. For now, they are happy to answer questions, but they are also happy to sit back and let you chat.  Nothing in these groups will be saved or connected to your applications.

How do you feel about admission folks being on Facebook?  Do you like the avenues we've set up for you?  What do you think we should do in the future?