The Oregon State University Facebook application helps new students connect to campus and each other.
Future Oregon State Freshman Emma Miller was nervous about leaving home and finding her place on campus until the Oregon State University Facebook Application calmed her fears.
Future students are scattered around the state, nation and world. Last year, Oregon State launched this online community to give students the opportunity to meet new friends and prepare to begin their college experience. The application, which is reserved exclusively for Oregon State students and new admits, is designed to help students connect based on their majors, activities and interests. It also offers students the ability to keep their personal Facebook profiles private while interacting with future classmates.
As soon as she was admitted Miller made a profile and began connecting with students who would be joining her on campus. She used the app to meet her roommate, find her fellow Sackett Hall residents and meet students who shared her academic and personal interests.
Like Miller, many app users also find roommates through UHDS’s Roommate Matching Network. They then utilize the app to start conversations and get to know each other. Junior transfer students Nicolas Castaneda used the app for this purpose. It helped him connect to another transfer student looking to find off-campus housing.
“We knew we would get along because the app discovered that we had several matching traits and characteristics,” Castaneda said. “We met once and agreed to be roommates. So far, everything is working out great!”
Building these peer connections is a crucial component of student success in college. According to Dr. Susie Brubaker-Cole, Associate Provost for Academic Success and Engagement, research done both nationally and at Oregon State is “unambiguous that developing a sense of belonging and connectedness within the new campus community is one of the most important factors in long-term student success in college.”
It is important to take these relationships offline as well. After students connect on the application, they often meet in person to get to know each other better. Students accomplish this by establishing “meetups” on the application that allows others to be aware of possible opportunities to meet fellow students. Last spring, students from the Portland area met at the Saturday market; students from California carpooled to their START orientations and others met over coffee or lunch during Open Houses to get to know one another better.
Once on campus, students also have the opportunity to meet up.
“The campus residences are an obvious way for students who’ve connected online to continue to develop in-person friendships,” Brubaker-Cole said. “I also know that many students who connect online over mutual interests or hobbies meet up in person in one of the many student clubs and organizations.”
The research and student experiences all point to the same conclusion: Getting connected as soon as possible helps student find their place at the university and begin developing the cohort of peers that will join them on their collegiate journey. The application provides a great venue to begin building these connections making the transition to Corvallis that much smoother.
Current and recently admitted students can also log on to social.oregonstate.edu to set up an account and start meeting new peers and friends.