Admissions office does not recruit using Facebook despite national trend

Study shows that 80 percent of colleges use the social networking site when considering applicants

| Staff Reporter

While admissions officers nationwide have increasingly depended on Facebook profiles to attract applicants, that trend hasn’t held true at Washington University, the top admissions official here said.

A recent article on the blog All Facebook cited a 2010 survey conducted by Kaplan, which found that four out of every five college admissions officers stated that their school used the social network to recruit students.

Julie Shimabukuro, director of undergraduate admissions, said admissions officers don’t actively investigate applicants’ Facebook pages. Still, incriminating information on Facebook constitutes fair grounds for rescinding admission offers.

“Reviewing Facebook pages has not been a formal part of the admissions process here,” Shimabukuro said. “That doesn’t mean that information about an applicant’s Facebook page is not referenced.”

While many colleges have moved to Facebook to interact with current and prospective students, the University has stuck mainly to conventional contact methods, like mail.

“[My friends and I] are never contacted through Facebook; it’s always by mail,” junior Robert Levy said.

While the University does not extensively recruit prospective students through the social network, students said they aren’t surprised that other colleges are doing so.

“I feel that colleges these days are using whatever they can to recruit more students,” sophomore Allan Wong said. “Most people rarely look at all of their e-mails, but they check their Facebook [profiles] every day.”

Most students agreed that Facebook is an effective way of recruiting prospective students.

“I’ve never gotten any message from college admissions officers, but I think it’s just where social media advertising is going. It’s a natural trend,” said Richard Marcus, a fifth-year master’s student.

Students suggested that using Facebook to draw applicants would benefit the University not only by increasing efficiency, but also by cutting costs.

“It doesn’t cost [the colleges] any money to send messages through Facebook, so if they can get five more students to apply, why not?” Wong said.

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