BC Bound By Casey Palmer | October 6, 2011 | RSS The thought of going away to college can be overwhelming, but with social networks like Bluefield College’s BC Bound, new students can connect with each other before classes even start. BC Bound is a private network for students who are accepted to the college or deposited and plan on attending. It was created by Kris Hardy, BC’s director of creative media, and Mark Hipes, director of traditional admissions for incoming students. "Coming to college can be very intimidating," said Hardy. "So, we wanted to create an exclusive online environment for our accepted students to have a place to meet each other before they even arrive on campus in August. Our hope was that once they began to populate the network they would begin to mingle and communicate with each other. It's been a great success." BC Bound currently has 141 members. Since the launch in April of 2011, the social media site has had 5,731 visits and 43,819 page views. BC Bound's Web Page “I think it just benefits every freshman who comes here; the one who is a little timid and shy to meet people, it will help them out a lot,” said K.J. Bryant, a freshman from Lynchburg, Va. That was true for Brittany Walters, a freshman from Fredericksburg, Va. “I was really afraid I’d get here and have no friends,” Walters said. “But I met some people on there and now we’re friends!” BC Bound also attracts students for its similarity to other social networks. “It’s a lot like Facebook,” said Elisabeth Willson, a freshman from Amissville, Va. “You could add friends and personalize your profile and stuff like that.” The site created a way for athletes to connect with their future teammates. A number of football players took advantage of the opportunity and even found their roommates. “I met K.J. on there and other football players,” said Patrick Occide, a freshman from Miami, Fl. “We talked a little bit and by the time football camp came around everybody already had a feel for who everybody was.” Other students decided to join after receiving advice from their admissions counselor. “Kayla [last name?] kept suggesting it so I decided to join,” said Angelika’ Coaker, a freshman from Farmville, Va. “I like it because you build friendships through it just like Facebook, but people aren’t trying to impress each other. They’re actually being real.” This advancement in social networking is seen as a great recruiting tool for BC. “Statistics show with other schools that do this, that a little bit higher than 80 percent of those students matriculate into the school,” said Maggie Lavoie, admissions counselor at Bluefield. Hipes has already noticed an impact, but he is waiting to see the long-term results. “It's had a direct effect on admissions, but one of our other goals is to impact retention, and it will be fun to watch the data over the coming year,” said Hipes. On September 1, BC Bound shut down temporarily. In October, the site will reopen and the class of 2016 will be able to join. The admissions department is now encouraging the class of 2015 to join the BC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bluefieldcollege.