Although colleges once cringed at the thought of Facebook or Twitter being used for more than keeping in touch or posting party pictures, student and alumni involvement with Web sites like these have forced them to alter their points of view. Tactics like social media recruitment have become increasingly important, too, for colleges suffering from the effects of a lowered enrollment. Cabrini admissions has not, however, gotten onto the Facebook bandwagon.
“We’ve thought about getting involved with it, but we have gotten mixed messages from our prospective students, so it’s hard to make a call with just that knowledge,” Kate Keglovits, admissions counselor, said.
The director of transfer admissions, Charlie Spencer, and other college admission counselors like him, all agree that social media is a powerful tool for recruitment. “New recruiting tactics are always needed. If you don’t constantly work for the future, you’ll be behind,” Spencer said.
But for colleges who consider themselves technologically friendly based strictly on their option to submit applications online, the idea of a more advanced application process is overwhelming, especially when the majority of students have yet to respond positively or negatively.
Despite Cabrini’s wariness towards adapting to a completely new admission strategy immediately, most students seem to be enthusiastic about the idea.
“I’m not really on Twitter, so Cabrini tweeting wouldn’t really have affected me much, but Facebook is a good medium to use to get students, because it’s the one that we use the most,” Dana Barardi, freshman history major, said.
Barardi highlights an important part of any college’s decision to overhaul their admissions process; each needs to accurately determine what medium to use for attracting applicants.
“I would absolutely lean more toward attending a school who used social media to reach out to their students. It’s interactive and interesting. It shows that it’s not all about textbooks, and that’s refreshing when you’re going in,” Nicole Durand, freshman communication major, said. “Dr. Zurek sent me a Facebook friend invitation and it was nice to know that oh, you know, hey, he’s on Facebook.”
Durand is just one of many students who was able to explore Cabrini via Facebook, which seems to be the most popular medium for incoming students. With groups related to rooming assignments, classes and even on-campus clubs, students are able to connect with peers and faculty members before they even set foot on campus for move-in day. Spencer, too, has used Facebook to encourage recruitment.
“Cabrini admissions does not have a specific page for prospective students.I use my own personal Facebook page to help admissions communicate with alumni who help us recruit. This has been helpful,” Spencer said.
With the buzz surrounding the relationship between college admissions and social media, it would seem the process is unavoidable. But one question remains; can online recruitment ever really replace the tried and true face-to-face visits and interviews?
“I think you need both kinds of admissions. You know, there’s none of the real experience if you don’t come visit, but it is nice I guess to be able to communicate from somewhere further away,” Berardi said.