Meebo. Another useful tool in the admissions social media arsenal...


Lauren Ulatowski


At Farmingdale State College, we are well aware of the role that social media plays with college students. We have a Facebook fan page on our home page.

However, the Admissions Department wanted to engage the students through social media on a deeper level. I did some research and discovered Meebo enables real-time instant chat conversations between Admissions Counselors and students. A huge benefit of using Meebo in this time of gargantuan budget reductions is that it is free!

The pros of the program are that students can be helped via the internet eight hours a day and do not have to wait on a telephone queue for an Admissions Staffer to pick up their call. We are understaffed and wait time can be lengthy. It gives the staff time to look up answers for the student so that they do not need to put the student “on hold”. The students are comfortable with this medium and receive the instant gratification that they are used to. It is easy for them as they do not have to memorize user name and password. All inquiries are kept confidential.

The cons are that the students ask many questions that do not relate to admissions, therefore stressing the low staff resources that we already have. We do our best to accommodate the students and be as helpful as we can but do need to occasionally forward them to other departments for help.

Ideally, four staffers are needed to answer the questions that come through Meebo, however, we are lucky if we have two people at any given time. Those who answer the Meebo questions do so voluntarily. Limited information can be given online due to time limitations. We are also concerned about whether the person asking questions is really who they say they are and must tailor our answers accordingly.

In all, we are happy to have introduced Meebo to better accommodate students and keep the staff sharp in regard to what is on student’s minds when they apply to Farmingdale State College.