As millions of high school students this spring consider college acceptance offers and a decision on which school to attend, Cornell’s Undergraduate Admissions Office has created a new virtual resource for admitted students: CUontheHill.
The private online social network will allow admitted students to learn about the university firsthand from Cornellians and assist them over the next month in their consideration of Cornell. During the entire month of April, all 6,234 students newly admitted to the Class of 2019 will have access to the site.
“Basically, we are providing a virtual framework for a conversation about Cornell to occur between our students, our admitted students and our alumni,” said Shawn Felton, director of undergraduate admissions. “CUontheHill creates a familiar, comfortable space for real-time engagement with current Cornell students and selected alumni from around the world.”
Members of the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network and dozens of current students will participate, Felton said, including International Student Admissions Ambassadors, members of CU IMAGE (Increasing Multicultural Admissions and Gains in Enrollment) and Cornell Ambassadors.
Social media features of CUontheHill include one-on-one and group chats, messaging, and the ability to establish friend networks and join groups based on region and topics of interest. Among the ways content can be shared on the site, current students will tweet photos of campus upon request and create an online repository of images. Participating current students and alumni can contribute to #MyCornellMoment, sharing their memories of being accepted to Cornell. From April 5-18, admitted students are encouraged to organize local in-person meetups with other admitted Cornell students and post photos or video to social media.
Nearly 1,000 early decision students have had access to CUontheHill since mid-December, and the site has had more than a quarter-million page views.
On CUontheHill Day, April 11, alumni from around the world also will join in welcoming the next freshman class – “in part to enhance our activities for international students who are not in the States and may not be able to come to campus for Cornell Days,” Felton said. “This event provides a personal touch and a chance to engage with all admitted students – we want to give them an understanding of what we are like, and what our students are like. They want to know what they are getting themselves into should they say yes, and we want them to leave with the best idea, the best sense of what Cornell is like.”
Videos on the site, 15 or 20 minutes to an hour in length, will cover “interests admitted students will surely have,” Felton said. “Almost all of the content on the site has been created for students, by students. We recorded several student panels, everything from student life – academic, social, residential – to managing the weather, study abroad and what the food is like on campus. There’s a staff panel touching upon Residential Life, LGBT resources and more.”
By “allowing the greatest number of admitted candidates increased access to the community,”CUontheHill becomes an extension of “all the other social media activities we’ve been engaged in throughout the year, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and it takes our ability to recruit and inform students to a new and really exciting level,” Felton said.
The new online hub also augments on-campus activity. During Cornell Days, April 9-20, student volunteers will host about 1,500 admitted freshmen visiting the campus. Diversity Hosting Month activities, April 8-27, will welcome approximately 400 admitted students from underrepresented minority groups.