Posted by: schooleducator | January 15, 2010

Time to Tweet College Admissions

There is more and more discussion and examination of high school students’ Facebook profiles during the torturous college admissions process. An errant Facebook post can fast derail a student’s hopes for admission.

Instead, colleges should be asking students to submit their Facebook profiles as part of the admissions process.  The Facebook profile should be a portfolio of student work, with careful, deliberate choices made on what to share with the colleges.  The time honored essay that asks students to write about or reflect upon a major change or challenge they overcame needs to go into the dustbin.  Those “old” and “worn” approaches to the application process are no longer relevant and do little to allow students to express themselves originally and authentically.

Having students submit their Facebook profiles also serves the twin purpose of helping high schools and parents see how students use social networking.  As part of the admissions process, colleges can see what posts students put up on their wall, what photos they select, and which Facebook applications they use. These “choices” can illuminate who a student is, and give a deeper window into their interests, creativity, and ability to harness technology for learning.  And, Facebook accounts are FREE.

Colleges charge an arm and a leg to apply.  With the economy still in a tailspin, colleges could help many families by moving their applications onto Facebook. Prospective students could build networks and groups, and the colleges could see what types of groups they form.  This could also get in front of the roommate dilemma and help colleges group and organize Freshmen housing, based on student interest and connectivity, well ahead of time.

And, on the off chance prospective students post inappropriately the colleges gain deeper insight into an applicant and can make an easy decision about admission.  It can be hard to dispute the evidence from a Facebook post, but it at least gives students a chance to play fairly in the game of the admissions process.

Student interests can shine on Facebook – art, music, community service (how quickly a student can organize fundraising for Haiti, for example) – and colleges get information in real time. No Fed Ex packages needed.

Or, to snap up another social networking tool, colleges could ask students to set up a Twitter feed for a week, and students would have to tweet for a week, and then submit their tweets as part of the application.  Again, another FREE web-based application could yield valuable insights into a student’s approach to social networking and learning with digital tools.

Let the games begin, colleges. Open up FREE web-based applications, like Facebook and Twitter, to propel college admissions into the 21st century.

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