The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

Colleges Recruit Students With Web

But the Web's expanding role in college recruiting raises questions about whether students are really benefiting from the new technology.

According to a recent report conducted by Stamats Communications, a higher education marketing firm, more than 80 percent of college-bound seniors used the Internet to research colleges last year, a jump from 57 percent three years ago.

"We're seeing (top students) actively using the Internet," said Deborah Long, an admissions counselor at UNC.

Long added that whereas in the past, research on colleges was mainly conducted by letter correspondence, today much of the admissions process is now done over the Internet. "Now everything about Carolina is on the Web."

The Internet has particularly helped smaller colleges reach students from diverse areas. Eleanor Payne, senior associate dean of admissions at Davidson College, said the Web has allowed Davidson to expand its recruiting base.

"With the increase in types of (online) programs, we're showing up on the lists of kids where we didn't before."

The result has been increased competition between schools to provide informative and interesting Web sites.

Payne and Long each said their schools constantly improve their Web sites to provide a more user-friendly and easily accessible format. "(Students) come for a variety of reasons, but the (Web site's) quality is what makes them come back."

But with the increasing emphasis on entertainment, some admissions experts are concerned that schools will mislead students with eye-catching graphics and innovative designs that present a distorted view of the school.

Linda Parker, director of the career information center at East Chapel Hill High School, said her counseling office advises students to use many techniques to research colleges.

"The glossy portfolios or the Web site are only one side of the school," she said.

Payne agreed that students must be cautioned against conducting a narrow Internet-based college search.

"The Web is a wonderful vehicle for inquiry and research, but it doesn't replace visits and personal conversations with faculty and students."

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