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College-Post Callout

The how-to of making social media announcements

Wading through my facebook news feed, filled to the brim with photos of distant friends’ trips to paradise and countless news articles, one thing floats to the top. Glancing over the post, my eyes instinctively light on the words “PROUD TO BE PART OF _________ UNIVERSITY CLASS OF 2020!!!!!!!!” You just know they were typed by some ecstatic senior who had just received the highly anticipated news that their 12 years of hard work hadn’t been in vain. And I’m excited for them. Heck, isn’t that the goal we’re all working towards?

In the media age, a minor tradition has evolved regarding college acceptances and enrollment. When you find out where you’re going, you post. Or even when you just get in and you’re not certain whether you’ll enroll. It’s obvious why people do it: they’re excited!

But, this mindless posting is controversial. What about the others’ still waiting for that golden envelope (or email)? What about those who have been rejected? It can’t make them feel good and most likely only increases their anxiety. And why do people feel the need to announce this information to all their Facebook friends, instead of just simply notifying those that it actually affects? Is it bragging about an achievement, or are you just updating others about a significant life event?

When senior Ben Shmidt sees others’ college posts he feels excited for his peers.

“It is a big step in their life. I think people are free to celebrate as long as it isn’t bragging,” Shmidt said, “and they definitely deserve to be proud because it is a big accomplishment.”

He believes the key is watching the line between being proud of yourself and coming across as cocky.

“Seeing what school you’re actually going to is exciting, but nobody wants to see all ten schools you got accepted to or rejected from. It is a waste of space and it can make others’ feel bad,” Shmidt said.

There seems to be a common thread among students: It is acceptable to post where you plan on attending, but posting acceptance after acceptance is frowned upon. According to senior Jason Vassallo, there is a “big difference.”

“By posting an acceptance, you’re saying, ‘Look at how good I am! I got into college!’ And [an enrollment] is more posting a life update,” Vassallo said.

And life updates’ are Facebook’s bread and butter. In his IPO letter, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg stated that part of the company’s mission is to “to strengthen how people relate to each other.” An aspect of maintaining strong relationships is knowing the details of one another’s lives, and Facebook definitely helps keep users up-to-date on their friends. So, does posting a college enrollment fall into the category of “life update?”

“It’s a big life step,” Associate Director of College Counseling Britten Nelson said, “You have a child, you get married, you go to college, you move to a new city. I think it’s an update that is totally worth sharing.”

Though many view these posts as totally warranted and harmless, Director of College Counselling Kelly Herrington believes they only add to the hysteria surrounding the college process.

“Students often post really positive, happy things,” Herrington said. “So when all the acceptances are posted, students who were rejected feel like they’re the only ones who’ve been rejected.”

These feelings of isolation and failure are extremely powerful. In such an important, life- influencing process they can do serious damage.

“I worry that students get a skewed perspective on how many students are admitted, especially to top schools,” Herrington said.

Herrington also worries about what social media culture has done to the overall college process.

“I have been sitting down with kids, and as soon as they got their acceptance they post it online,  instead of taking a minute to take a step back, reflect, and live in the moment,” Herrington said. “I find it really sad. Because to me, it’s an indication that [applying to this school] was about earning admiration and respect. Really the admiration and respect that means the most is theself-generated.”

By Jacob Greene

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