This post is by the Honest College intern Megan Simpson (Chapman University)
I know what you’re probably thinking: this is going to be an article about how to clean up your Facebook prior to applying to colleges. Well, honestly, you should’ve already done that. I feel like that’s just common sense nowadays (which really doesn’t seem very “common” on the internet anymore). No, this is an article all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute–just sit right there–to tell you how I became a part of my class Facebook group.
To find your college’s Facebook group, search your University’s name and class in the search bar (mine would be “Chapman University Class of 2015”). Hopefully, you’ll come up with one. Always join the group with the most people already in it. If you don’t find one, make one!
College Facebook groups have the potential to be extremely helpful, but can very quickly turn sour because of a few specific kids. I’ve gone through a few different college Facebook groups in the past few weeks, and I saw a lot of stuff that made me go “Really? That’s how you want to represent yourself?” This article will vaguely explain do you a bunch of different ways to avoid being that kid, and use those powers for good, and not evil.
Do join early. Join as soon as you get accepted. This will help you get a feel for the other people in your class. if you’re stuck between two or more Universities, joining may help your decision (but if you’re doing that, don’t be a jerk and post stuff like “so excited for school!” and “I loooove this campus!” and other things that signal you’re already committed to a specific school. You’ll just look stupid when you post “Sorry guys, i decided on Other University… have a great college experience!” a month later.
Do introduce yourself. It doesn’t have to be your life story, but a simple “Hi, I’m Megan! I’m from California and I’m majoring in English Lit 🙂 I’m so excited for school to start!!” can go a long way.
Don’t come in bragging. You’d think we would have learned not to do this in elementary school, but it would appear that some kids need a refresher course. This basically means not to come in waving the “look at my intelligent self” flag. I saw a lot of kids posting their high school GPA and how they graduated with this honor and was president of that club in their introductions. You have plenty of time to prove how smart you are in the next four years.
Do ask upperclassmen questions. In every Facebook group I saw, there were a few upperclassmen (mostly sophomores) on the page giving advice. I’m actually on the Chapman Class of 2016 page for that very reason. They just lived through what you’re about to live through: take advantage of that! If you’re confused about registration or how you get involved in Greek life, posting something like, “Sophomores! Is it really a good idea to take 15 units your first semester?” Chances are, you’ll get a nice, put together response.
Don’t mess with the upperclassmen. I think this is perhaps my biggest tip. I understand that it is an exciting time for all of you and that you want to show as much pride as possible, but I was surprised at how many times I saw people being, well, disrespectful. I’ll admit, college is not like high school. If you insult an upperclassmen, you’re not going to get canned or duct-taped to a wall, but upperclassmen run basically all of the activities that you want to join. Don’t make posts about defiling a school tradition or vandalizing any part of the school/dorms. It’s likely that an upperclassmen started your class Facebook group, and are definitely sophomores on the page. They can see you, kiddo, it ain’t a secret.
Don’t make it all about the partying. Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo are likely to pass while you’re waiting for high school to end. Please, for the love of Pete, do not post, “Woooo! St. Patty’s Daaaaay! Who’s gettin wasteddddd?” or “Dude, cinco de mayo was freaking crazy, i don’t think I’ve ever had that much beer!” It goes hand in hand with the rule about cleaning up your Facebook before you apply for college. Just ’cause you’re in doesn’t mean you can’t get kicked out. And even if not a single administrator sees it, trust me, you’re just going to give off that “tool vibe” before anyone actually meets you.
Do let it help you find your roommates! Whether you decide to use RoomSurf, do “random,” or hand-select people, the Facebook group is the best tool. RoomSurf can help you find who they’ve matched you up with. If you’ve already decided to let the school decide, it can help you get a feel for the kind of people you could be matched up with. However, while I’m on the topic of giving advice, I think the best way to go is to just start talking to people on the page! Get a private message going! Just say something like, “Hey! I saw you’re going to _____ next year, and we’re totally in the same major. How excited are you to graduate?” Both my freshmen roommates (who will now be my sophomore roommates) contacted me because of the Facebook group. Because we got to know each other, we didn’t have the kind of drama that a lot of other rooms had.
There you have it. Basically, use the group to your advantage–it could be the best insight into college life that you have. But being that kid isn’t cute, and it’s not going to fly for the next four years.
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