New Facebook app predicts college admissions chances with near accuracy

By Hanqing Chen

Washington Square News, New York U. via UWIRE

It seems that high school students have another reason to waste time on Facebook, but this time it might help them get into college. AdmissionSplash, a new Facebook application, helps students calculate their chances of getting into their dream schools.

AdmissionSplash is one branch of a network of applications and websites called CampusSplash, which currently includes a developing residence hall review website (DormSplash).

AdmissionSplash co-founder Allen Gannett said Facebook was the best way to reach out to students.

“There are over eight million high school students on Facebook, and we thought that it would be a more comfortable environment for students to have everything in one place, so that on the same site that you can play Farmville, you can also think about college admissions,” he said.

According to Gannett, the app predicts NYU student acceptance with around a 90 percent accuracy rate.

“In NYU’s case, we took the profiles of 75 admitted students and [used that data] to do the formula backwards,” Gannett explained.

The app asks for academic records such as grade point average and standardized test scores and for one’s anticipated major. Under the information tab, one can also enter ethnicity, religion and extracurricular activities in order to increase the accuracy of the results.

Some NYU professors said that the simplicity and objectivity may indeed help stressed-out seniors avoid “unnecessary angst,” as Steinhardt professor Ann Marcus refers to it, in the current competitive academic and financial climate.

Marcus said the fact that the app offers advice free of charge is invaluable to students.
“There is a huge industry around college counseling, and people spend very large sums to get advice,” Marcus said. “Unfortunately, many students apply to places where they don’t have much of a chance, or pay consultants a lot to help them figure it out.”

Floyd M. Hammack, professor of humanities and the social sciences, also commends the uses of the app for its quick response compared to other similar services.

“This kind of information has been available before, but having it in this form, with immediate feedback, will probably be more important to students than putting the data together for one’s self,” Hammack said.

NYU students, however, are slightly more skeptical as to the level of satisfaction the quick answer the app provides about their chances.

“I tried it, and the results aren’t very satisfying,” said CAS freshman Wendy Liu, whose senior scramble for college applications is still fresh in her mind.

“Why would the results be great or fair?” she asked. “Maybe if it included average statistics of [the specific] college, or personality traits of the student body.”

Hammack suggested there may be room to reach for an even younger demographic.

“It also strikes me that this may be a very useful tool for middle school students and/or beginning high school students — they will get an idea of what it actually takes to get into a truly selective college or university in time to affect their behavior,” he said.

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