The most dreadfully awaited, bitter-sweet moment of a child’s life is here: they’re preparing to leave the nest and face the real world. As an incoming college student, you may be equally terrified and excited to enter the unfamiliar; as a parent, you probably feel the same way as your child. Preparing for college can start with an app you may already have – Facebook.
Facebook’s “Groups” feature allows users to join larger niche communities without leaving home. Many of these groups are for specific colleges and allow students, parents, and alums to meet one another and have their questions answered.
Rising University of Central Florida senior Madison Versaggi joined the “UCF Class of 2024 (Official)” group during her freshman year at the university. Versaggi said that her first year of college was during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing her to have an abnormal start to her college career.
“There were no social events on campus and no face-to-face lectures, so it was difficult to meet people,” Versaggi said. “Joining the UCF Facebook group let me make friends who have been with me throughout my entire college experience.”
For every first-time college student, there is also a first-time college parent. Kimberly Robideau joined nine different UCF-based groups before sending her incoming freshman to the dorms.
“Belonging in these groups has really helped me with info that isn’t easily found on the [university] website,” Robideau said. “Family Weekend, meal plans, and dorm selection have all been discussed in detail.”
While joining these groups is a great way to meet new people and learn more about a university, they can support those anxious about the new college chapter. Melissa Tomasso is a mom of two UCF students who is a part of five different UCF-oriented groups.
Tomasso has seen posts from fellow parents sharing similar concerns, such as parents who live up north but fear an impending hurricane. She said she has seen parents say things like, “‘I live down the road from UCF, your student can come and stay with me, I’ve got you.’” Tomasso says these impressive and supportive responses make the Facebook groups worth it.
“These groups help make a huge school feel smaller and more intimate,” Tomasso said. “It makes a large university smaller and puts parents at ease.”
Facebook groups are a great way to get the inside scoop on a university and turn Facebook friends into real-life friends. Whether you’re an incoming college student or the parent of one, joining a Facebook group should be put at the top of your back-to-school prep list.