New Bluefield College students are getting to know one another, even before they step foot on the BC campus, thanks to a cutting edge social network called BC Bound.
Designed by the college’s Admissions Office, BC Bound is a social media network similar to Facebook, but with one big difference — only those who have been admitted to Bluefield College are invited to join.
“Coming to college can be very intimidating,” said Kris Hardy, BC’s director of creative media, who envisioned and helped develop BC Bound with Mark Hipes, director of traditional admissions. “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.”
Already, 137 incoming freshmen have joined BC Bound. Since the launch in April of 2011, the social media site has accumulated more than 37,000 page views with an average in excess of 2,000 page views a week.
“Incoming students have really enjoyed BC Bound, and they are using it,” said Hipes. “It’s exactly what we envisioned. We wanted students to have access to create a community, and they have done so. 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 years.”
In addition to learning more about the Bluefield College experience, the students are posting photos and videos of themselves, from profile pictures and family shots to high school memories and sports highlights. In fact, students have already uploaded more than 500 photos to BC Bound.
They’re also learning lots more about each other, even before they step foot into a classroom or dormitory together, by posting “About Me” and “Passion” blogs and sharing thoughts and concerns on “Orientation” and “Finding a Roommate” in BC Bound’s chat room and forum. In addition, like Facebook, BC Bound gives members the ability to create their own personal page and to create or join groups based on special interests.
“It’s a great way for incoming students to make new friends, to network with people in their major, or to share photos from their high school events and hometown,” said Hardy. “Admissions counselors will check in from time to time to answer questions or to clear up potential issues, but the space really belongs to the students. They make it their own.”
To view BC Bound, visit https://bcbound.bluefield.edu. To enjoy the full advantages of the social media site, prospective students already admitted can contact the BC Admissions Office for a username and password by calling 800-872-0175 (x4340) or by e-mailing [email protected]