February 20, 2009

C.U. Students Weigh In on Pros And Cons of Admissions Website

Print More

For potential students living on the other side of the country, or even the world, the University’s website serves as a portal that can bridge the gap imposed by geography.
In searching for the perfect school, students have in recent years leaned on the internet as a reliable source of information. As a result, colleges have sought to maintain strong websites.
“The web has been one of the many effective tools we have used for a long time to engage students and families with Cornell,” Shawn Felton, senior associate director of admissions for recruitment, stated in an e-mail.
In a recent survey by the Cybermetrics Lab, a public research group in Spain, Cornell University’s website was ranked fifth among thousands of university web-pages across the world.
The University’s website offers a wide range of content to attract potential students.
Life on the Hill is a series of blogs posted by several current students from across the colleges on the Admissions Office website describing their life at Cornell. Patricia Moscoso ’11, a current blogger, explained, “The blog is a great resource for the prospective students poking around on the website.”
In her blog, Moscoso details what academic life is like in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, including her comments on lectures and events she has attended.
Moscoso said, “I just want to give a sense of all the opportunities available to students here and the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone in college.”
Students are not the only ones publishing blogs on the Cornell website. The Admissions Office itself has a blog.
Felton stated, “The admissions blog is a vehicle for us to communicate important information about admission and financial aid to prospective students and families. We see the blog as another very relevant way to share information that will make the admissions and financial aid processes more accessible and more transparent to students and their parents.”
Visitors to the Cornell website can also send scenic pictures of Cornell through E-Postcards. Additionally, the Live View of Cornell allows a viewer to scan Cornell through webcams placed around the campus.
However, the Cornell website is not without its flaws. Matt Langseth ’10, a transfer student from California, expressed concern about the website’s lack of focus on daily life at school.
“I think Cornell is beautiful … this aspect of Cornell should be more prominent on the website,” he said. “It is difficult to imagine what the school is like when you’re coming from so far-school is like when you’re coming from so far away. I would like to see more specifically what there is to do on campus and what the people are like.”
Dissatisfied with the website, some potential students turn to other online resources. Jacky Wang ’12, shared his experience on his search for colleges.
“I mostly used the website College Confidential,” he said. “There I can ask the questions I have about what life is like at Cornell and expect quick responses from my peers who have already gone through with this entering college process.”
There are numerous websites that offer online forums where people can share their experience on anything college-related online.
However, websites like College Confidential can be highly opinionated. As such, they can be difficult to rely upon.
Wang explained, “The website is very biased and it’s common to receive extremely different advice. In the end, it really depends on your judgment.”
Felton emphasized that Cornell was determined to modify and improve its website to better serve students.
“We are always looking to the future. You want to remain relevant,” Felton stated. “Online and technological resources are a given. We continue to actively explore the variety of online opportunities available to us to continue our efforts to attract students to Cornell.”