The University of Mary Washington has created an official Facebook page for the incoming class of 2016 in an effort to better inform students regarding questions and confusions that arise. This is the first time the university has directly sponsored an incoming freshman Facebook page; previous efforts were run by prospective students.
The official Facebook page already has 159 members, including current students keeping a constant eye out for new student questions and confusions.
The first post on the page was created by one of the student administrators, senior Kyle Allwine, informing students what the page is for, “This is for students entering the University of Mary Washington Class of 2016. Meet new friends, pick roommates, and learn more about your new academic home!”
The note under his introduction said, “This page provides a safe and spam-free place for students to learn about UMW.”
The major difference in this year’s official freshman Facebook page is timing; the class of 2016 page was created on Jan. 4, and has been active with freshmen joining daily with many questions about the university.
The five administrators on the page are Washington Guides, students who give tours to freshmen around campus.
Senior Kyle Allwine, junior Jeremy Thompson, sophomore Katie Sue, freshmen Ford Torney and Kacie Couch are the administrators in charge of the page.
The administrators also chose a few students who were active on the class of 2015 Facebook page to help answer questions.
At this point, no other current students are being added.
“We don’t want to overwhelm them,” said Torney.
Most of the current students on the page are Washington Guides and are well informed about UMW.
“Once we have more prospective students join the group, we will add more current students to fill in what’s needed,” said Torney.
Dean of Admissions Kim Johnston is in collaboration with the five guides in handling the Facebook page.
“I was hoping it would be a place for students to connect with each other so they’d feel free to post what they wanted to post, to ask questions, good, bad or indifferent, I wanted it to be a pretty honest, open place for student to go and talk about what their concerns were,” she said.
Johnston talked about the importance of connection between a freshmen class, and her hope that this class will follow in the class of 2015’s footsteps.
“It really used Facebook the way Facebook was supposed to be used,” said Johnston. “This class came in last Fall, and they were already a class.”
The class of 2015 Facebook page is still active today.
This year, the school is sending out emails to the accepted students, written by the student administrators for the page, informing them of the Facebook page, according to Johnston.
Allwine spoke of the intended success of the page, and said, “over 90 percent of the freshman class connected on the Class of 2015 last year. We would like to top that this year. I think we can.”
Allwine said if the current students can answer questions in “less than an hour’s time,” then the page will be utilized successfully.
Johnston said, “I got very excited about the class of 2015 because it just worked so well. It just seemed that the students really engaged with each other and really got excited about UMW.”
After exploring other school’s Facebook pages, Johnston said that in comparison ours is flourishing in communication.
“Our students really talked to each other,” she said. Johnston hopes that the 2015 page started a new tradition with the freshman classes.
In regards to the incoming freshman class, “We are right in the middle of application review,” said Johnston.
Those who applied early admission have received letters, and the University mailed regular admission letters in February.
All students, aside from those who are waitlisted, will know by April 1 if they are accepted or not, and the class is expected to be between 975 and 1000 students, according to Johnston.