According to the PBS News Hour, for several years, colleges and universities have been encouraging prospective students to connect with faculty and current students at colleges such as Ithaca and Sarah Lawrence and analyzing the results. They use the data to predict the likelihood of which kinds of students were most likely to enroll and whether or not they’ll have academic success and ultimately graduate. They combine those results with grades, test scores, recommendations, etc. to make admissions decisions. Ultimately, admissions officers and those above them are interested in the highest proportion of accepted students who enroll, a yield figure which measures demand, or exclusivity. Colleges use Facebook Data to admit Students
This yield number is important to prospective students and their parents for two reasons. First, bond raters from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s use the yield number to determine the interest for bonds colleges and universities use for capital expansion to make themselves even more attractive to students. “The more demand, the higher our bond rating and the lower our interest rating….saving millions of dollars a year in interest payments, ” said Bruce Poch, a former admissions official at Pomona College.
But it is troubling to some admissions officials that students less inclined to use social media or without regular access to the Internet are at a disadvantage. Fewer opportunities for some college applicants. Colleges need to be thoughtful in how they use this data both before admission and while shepherding the student through college to help those more marginal students , especially first generation ones, stay in school. Helping drifting students graduate.
Here at Advantage Learning, we would recommend that students take advantage of any college offers to interact, particularly with faculty and students of colleges you’re interested in, but to be a bit judicious in what you say and how you say it. (I.E. Don’t say “I can’t wait to party my brains out and have mindless sex!”) Ditto on what you share from your Facebook and other accounts. Clean up your act and make things private BEFORE you start applying to college. Just a thought.