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Admissions Brings Social Media to The Table

Filters, hashtags, and emojis are the new way Hunter College admissions promotes study abroad programs to their over 2,000 followers on Instagram and 500 Snapchat viewers. Each year more than 350 students go overseas making it less than 2% of students participating in study abroad programs. Admissions created this social media initiative in hopes of getting future and current Hawks excited about attending Hunter College.    

The plan includes giving participants access to the admissions’ Instagram and Snapchat accounts to post their activities and adventures. This initiative started two years after admissions created their Instagram page in 2015. 

“Every two weeks or so we have a current student do what we call a ‘takeover’ for a day on SnapChat or Instagram,” said Irina Ostrozhyuk, assistant director of undergraduate admissions. This initiative isn’t only for study abroad, students can also share their everyday life at Hunter College as well. This plan started out on Instagram but has now expanded to Snapchat. 

Hunter College offers 20 short term programs ranging from $4,000 to $8,000. Students have 17 location options including Italy, Thailand and Jordan. These four-week programs take place during the summer or winter breaks. According to the 2016 CUNY Student Experience Survey, many students take into account money and time when signing up for studying abroad. Cost is important at CUNY where more than 84% of entering students receive aid as stated in the 2018-2019 Hunter College IPEDS Student Financial Aid Survey. 

Media production major Tina Florio, 21, is having a hard time affording tuition and can’t see herself studying abroad, “I have student loans to pay off,” she said. “Once I graduate so I can’t afford to sign up. It’s definitely expensive for sure but I think it could be a great experience for students who can pay.” 

student sitting on a ledge behind an scenic view.
Student Jamie Cabigas social media post on the Hunter Admissions Instagram page.

Jamie Cabigas, 22, a bioinformatics Hunter graduate took advantage of her scholarship. “I am a Macaulay Student, so we are literally ‘paid’ to study abroad. But, despite this, many in my program do not take advantage of the opportunity, said Cabigas. “I took advantage of it because I travel all the time. It’s something my parents passed down to me, but for once I wanted to experience going somewhere without my family.”  According to the Macaulay website, over 70% of students study abroad. Each receives $1,500 as an opportunity fund to support study abroad, internships and research work.

 

Those who aren’t Macaulay students like Jennifer Ayasee, 21, a psychology student have to look for financial support in scholarship postings online. Ayasse spent three weeks applying to five scholarships that were listed on the Hunter College education abroad website but she didn’t receive any, “there were many scholarships but I didn’t qualify for many of them. The applications are long but I tried my best because I wanted some help since I also don’t get financial aid.” She ended up having to pay over $3,000 with the help of her parents and her own savings account. 

Ayasse and Cabigas both went to Spain and loved their time abroad and were both asked to share their experience through Hunter College’s social media pages. 

Cabigas was one who agreed to share her experience on Instagram. Students have to upload images for them to be approved and chosen in order to be featured on the Hunter College Admissions Instagram page. The process is straightforward and consists of filling a form with information such as major, year of graduation and bio that will go into the picture caption. Admissions remind students to not post anything your parents wouldn’t want to see.  

Cabigas is glad Hunter College is promoting studying abroad to students, “Social media is so important because when we go to lectures, 50% of us are actually scrolling on it. Jokes aside, I was enthusiastic about Hunter College’s use of social media. I think that it shows a desire to reach out to its students in contemporary ways. “ Cabigas said this is the most effective way Hunter College can get its messages across to students. 

As assistant director of admissions, Ostrozhnyuk has seen how much this new plan has changed students’ perspectives on Hunter and studying abroad, “Yes we are a commuter school, but at the same time think about how you can get involved,” she said. “That is why we have people taking over so students can see it. It’s coming from you guys.” Ostrozhnyuk has noticed an increase in questions and engagement on the Instagram page. 

If students missed an Instagram story, admissions have created a story highlight solely for social media that can now be watched anytime. Florio didn’t know about this highlight but after viewing it she regrets not looking into studying abroad, “Even though it’s expensive, I think it’s worth the money because you get to experience a whole new country.” 

To see the latest takeovers add @futurehawks on Snapchat and @huntercollegeadmissions on Instagram. 

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