A senior Facebook tradition

A+senior+Facebook+tradition

Over the summer, when College Counselor Ivan Hauck spoke with college representatives from institutions across the world, the question of students’ online presence was repeatedly brought up. And again and again the answer was the same.

The reality of today is that, “colleges are using online data,” Hauck said. “They are going way beyond just Facebook profiles to any kind of social media, to get more information and get a better sense of who the student is and, more importantly, if the student will be a [good] fit in their institution.”

Partly due to increased monitoring of social media by colleges, many seniors at ASL and beyond have changed their Facebook names. While these names have varied, many originated as a play on words with their own name or something else with a comedic twist.

For Jack Glen (’16) however, a senior Facebook name is more form than function. “Some people think universities are going to find them, but honestly we’ve done it to make people laugh, to bring people together,” Glen said. “At the end of the day, if a college wants to find you, they will find you.”

Despite believing that they are now mostly useless for their original intended purpose, Glen offered another reason why the legacy of senior Facebook names will continue for upcoming senior classes. “I remember looking forward, as a junior, to changing my name; all the junior grades look up to it as kind of a coming of age tradition,” he said. “It’s only a tradition now, but a tradition that will never die. All of us want to keep the legacy.”

Tania Veltchev (’17) would agree. In fact she already has a name picked out. “Tanye West, that’s the one I want to do,” she said.

While Glen would classify it more as a “fun tradition” rather than a means to hide, others like Veltchev, believe it at least serves a rudimentary purpose. “I honestly think it’s a good idea to not have your profile able to be accessed by a school that you are applying to, especially if you are going to post any photos that are questionable,” she said.

This mindfulness of image, according to Hauck, is not only important to think about, but an essential part of the college process and of senior year. “Especially as seniors go into a year with applications and interviews where they are getting evaluated on many different levels, I hope that each senior genuinely takes the time to think about their image – both their projected image and who they are,” Hauck said.

Among his peers, Glen has seen this mindset radiated, at least to a certain extent, with the choosing of senior Facebook names. “A senior name means something to you,” Glen said. “Maybe it’s a new identity, a new persona, someone they want to be, but can’t, a passion people want to express.”

Max Roth contributed to reporting.