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Networking and the incoming class of 2017

The deposit checks are in the mail but the college buzz is buzzier than ever.

Having survived the arduous college admissions process, our seniors are now taking full advantage of their opportunities to negotiate the social landcape of their newly selected school well before they land on campus in late August.  

They are so much luckier than we were.

The social networks they know and love allow them  to explore and participate in new academic and social communities. Between now and fall semester, students can build new support networks and new friendships.

VergePipe Media offers some context for the students leaving us next month—a timeline for the Class of 2017 (also known as the  mobile millennials).

Born in 1995, they do not remember a world without social media.

3 years old – Google changes the way we search the web.

4 years old – Netflix begins digitally delivering movies and TV shows.

6 years old – The iPod hits the market and changes the way the world listened to music.

8 years old – Tom launches Myspace, and social media begins the climb to world domination.7 years old – American Idol airs and “live voting” by mobile device becomes mainstream.

9 years old – The first episode of Lost hits the airwaves. Facebook is born.

10 years old – Youtube adds a whole new element to searching the web.

11 years old – Twitter – and 140 characters – becomes popular. Toms Shoes launches the One for One Campaign.

12 years old – The iPhone took the world by storm.

(For more, also see the Beloit College Class of 2016 Mindset List.  2017 should be out in August.)

Here’s a list of what I’ve been observing and also what I’ve been suggesting regarding getting ready for fall.  

The Class of 2017 Facebook page/group;  It’s natural to want to chat with people facing the same anxiety, excitement, and experiences you face.  For the Class of 2017,  class culture is already developing and thriving on the Class or 2017 Facebook pages most universities now initiate.  It’s likely seniors have been invited to join their college’s Facebook group for admitted students where they are asking questions and meeting each other and . . .

Stalking a roommate: At this point seniors may not have an official roommate assignment, but they are are shopping for a roommate who shares their interests and perspectives.  Though the contact is often first made on Facebook, the conversation often continues via Twitter, Skype, and Google Hangouts.  And so, the nightmare  experience I had with my first college roommate (Cindy!)  should be far less common these days.

Who’s bringing what: Once students have selected a roommate, they use social media to make those crucial decisions about who’s bringing what.

Note: Students should be aware that how they post kinda matters in this particular landscape.  The  Accepted 2017 blog catalogs the crazy s*&t people say in college admissions Facebook groups.  

For instance, one NYU student wrote: I already hate half of you. There are likely better opening lines.  Students have a large new audience in this new space and there  seems to be a lot of snarky judging going on, so it might be good not to overshare till you test the water.

Stalking boys/girsl in the freshman class.  Enough said.

Staying in touch: When they say goodbye at graduation, this class of seniors know they will easily be able to keep in touch with their friends  via  Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Hangouts and text.

Following the Twitter streamThe Twitter hashtag #incomingfreshmanadvice, is a mixed bag of high school and college freshman  advice.  Combining #classof2017 with a hashtag for a university  may also reveal a conversation.

Decorating the dorm room: For the past couple of weeks I’ve watched as Jelli and her new roommates scanned Pinterest for space-saving and adorable decorating ideas to include on their own highly selective board. Searching dorms, decorating, college, etc. reveals boards like Residential Life and Dorm Room Trends and fabulous visual inspiration.  This is such a far cry from a time when Emily and I were thrilled to discover those plastic bed risers that increased under-the-bed storage space.  Moms and dads will asl find this helpful in shopping expeditions this summer.

(BTW, Manchester University seems to be a leader in college pinning, with boards that embody our spirit and traditions, as well as fun and interesting finds and original content! )

Colleges apps may be very handy downloads.  They often provide directions; class, bus, and sports schedules; meal plan systems; and guides to campus activities.

Read the newspaper: Even before they arrive on campus, the incoming class can get a sense of the social, cultural, political and academic scene–what they want to join and do and avoid–by reading the online version of the campus paper

Visit the library:  Okay, my students are not really buzzing about this, but I am.  Each year I try to get time to have students explore their university library’s interface in class.  I want my students to get familiar with that library website, and its possible apps and interactive resources, as well as the virtual and face-to-face voice of a librarian, before they hit a research crisis.

I want them to discover that their new library will also be accessible through the very same tools they use to connect with the other parts of their lives.



Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Joyce,

    I love these ideas! Especially since I am in the midst of speaking to senior classes, trying to give them a send off by sharing their univ. library websites with them, and showing them things to look for (like subject area librarians, live chats, subject lists on libguides at many schools, etc.).

    These will be perfect to incorporate into my discussion with them!


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