Ready or not, students are coming back to Boston. The first flood will likely be the class of 2016 — those incoming freshmen with a panicked look in their eyes and a lanyard from their respective school slung around their neck, because they just don’t know how nerdy it looks yet.
To ease the jitters, local colleges and universities have latched on to social media to welcome the students in, tweeting and re-tweeting sentiments like:
Boston University’s Dean of Students Kenn Elmore helped welcome in freshmen earlier this summer, creating a foursquare list called “Orientation 2012 – 29 Hours Around Comm Ave.” Although Orientation is over, the list will still be handy for incoming students who can’t remember their way from Marsh Plaza to Agganis Arena, as well as for returning students who have yet to figure out BU has a “beach.”
Tufts University created a foursquare list last year to usher in the class of 2015. Although now a year old, the landmarks they added are timeless, meaning the list is still one to follow. Fun fact I learned just by looking at the stops: Upon arriving on campus, first-year students participate in a Matriculation ceremony on the Academic Quad — “an assembly not reprised until graduation four years later.”
Lucky for soon-to-be students at Harvard, the university has created a mobile tour for them, as well. (Alright, maybe it was more for the school’s 375th anniversary, but the app only benefits incoming freshmen.) The self-guided tour includes text descriptions laced with audio, video and images for each of the featured 16 locations. The application also provides information on Harvard’s history, ranging from fun facts and trivia to groundbreaking moments in the university’s history.
On Twitter and Instagram, Babson is encouraging students to use the hashtag #babson2016. Babson’s Digital Marketing Director Gene Begin says there will also be two SCVNGR-powered orientation treks throughout the welcoming weekend — one for undergraduate students and one for MBA students — which will be available at the end of this week. The college even created a separate Facebook page for incoming undergraduates, but have also been engaging with them through their main account, as well.
To help students navigate Northeastern’s sprawling campus, curriculum and life as a new Husky, the university’s Media Relations Manager Kara Shemin says they’ll be inviting Northeastern’s Twitter followers to use the hashtag #NUHusky101, “to share tips with each other about all-things-Northeastern, including where to find the best coffee, the fastest routes through campus, advice about countries to study and work in, etcetera.”
Beyond Twitter and all the engagement already taking place on Northeastern’s Facebook page, the NU Student Life blog has also been serving as a central hub of information for incoming and returning students. They can contribute to the blog, all while learning more about what’s going on, on campus, in Boston and globally from others studying and on co-op in different countries.
The beauty of social media is that not only can these tactics help acclimate freshmen to their new surroundings, but it also helps them engage with their school, and with each other, before even stepping foot on campus. Leaving home is a big step, but leaving home and moving to a “big city” can be even harder. Thankfully, the city’s schools are here to make the transition a little less daunting.