August 2, 2012
After Brooklyn Hollis received her acceptance letter to Indiana State University, she decided to visit the university's new Facebook application to learn more.
She now spends more time there than on her own Facebook page.
Hollis has met friends and classmates, posed questions and answered others and learned more about ISU through the university's application on the social media website. The app, which Indiana State social media developer Amy Bouman described as a "Facebook within a Facebook for ISU students," includes message boards for students to talk and pose questions to each other or to Indiana State admissions officers who also use the application.
"I've actually met my best friends through that site," said Hollis, an incoming first-year student from Crawfordsviile. "That was the most exciting thing, meeting girls my age who are going through the same thing I am, moving away from home."
Indiana State initially offered the application to incoming first-year students in the Class of 2016. Students using the app can create plans to meet up, promote their events, form study groups and join communities that interest them, which can be based on their major, interests or activities that they want to be involved in on campus, Bouman said.
More than 1,500 incoming first-year students registered for the app, and they have posted 22,424 times, engaged in 3,843 conversations and created 4,018 communities.
"It's a private community, so only other ISU students see their posts," Bouman added. "The idea is to get them to meet other students that they might not have met."
Hollis said in late July that she met all of her friends at ISU through the Facebook application. She added 70 of her classmates to her Facebook friends list after meeting them on the site, which also has led to direct contact. Several students learned that they had scheduled summer orientation at ISU on the same day, and met in person while on campus.
"I'm still searching for people who live on the same floor as me, but as far as the same residence hall, I've met a lot of people through the app," Hollis said.
The application also provides users with a customized wall, so that they are able to see items posted in areas that would be considered of interest to them, said Santhana Naidu, web services director at Indiana State. On the regular Facebook site, an array of items is typically posted to a user's newsfeed, so users see everything that's been posted.
"We're trying to tailor the students' online experience to their needs," Naidu said of the customized content on the Indiana State app.
The application was first opened in December to students admitted for fall 2012, and in April some current students received access to the site. All Indiana State undergraduate students currently enrolled in at least 12 credit hours of on-campus courses now have access.
"Incoming students seem to be excited because we've seen communication from students before they get the invitation, which they get automatically once they're admitted," Naidu said. "They reach out to us asking ‘how can I join?'"
Many students have taken advantage of the opportunity to ask questions of Indiana State admissions counselors, though other students have sometimes been quick to provide insights if they already had similar questions answered themselves. Others have found their roommates on the site, providing for the opportunity to get to know each other before moving in to start the year.
"The app is fabulous. I think it's the best thing that ISU could have done to transition students from home life to school life," Hollis said. "I'm very pleased with the number of people I know, and I feel very secure going into campus knowing people before classes start."
All qualified students will receive another invitation to join Indiana State's Facebook app in late August. They can also request an invitation by going to www.indstate.edu/facebook
Incoming Indiana State University first-year student Brooklyn Hollis works on her computer. Hollis joined ISU's Facebook app after she was accepted to ISU, which has allowed her to meet dozens of other students in her incoming class before the start of the semester.
Contact: Santhana Naidu, web services director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-8037 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or email@example.com
ISU's Facebook app allows students taking classes on campus to meet other students, engage in discussions and form communities with each other.