Facebook page helps incoming BYU freshmen


Every year, newly accepted students struggle to get ready for college. They are wondering how to register for class, which classes to take, where to live and what BYU is really like. A current freshman decided he would make life easier for next year’s freshmen by creating a Facebook page devoted to getting ready for the BYU experience.

Joseph Chandler, a freshman from San Jose, Calif., majoring in physics, was working his late night custodial job when he thought of the struggle he had turning in his mission papers and navigating MyMap. After realizing next year’s freshmen will have to learn the same system, the idea of his Facebook page, “An Average Joe’s Advice to New Cougars,” was born.

“I like writing stuff down, but I don’t like structured writing,” he said. “I also wanted to share my opinions.”

After creating the page, Chandler had to let others know of its existence.

“I really tried to advertise to people coming in, not to those who were already here,” he said. “I mostly started it and hoped people would find it. I went to pages I knew people were, such as BYU Admissions, and said, ‘Hey if you have questions about BYU, check this page out.’ ”

Chandler said he is aware of BYU’s official Facebook pages, but believes they have their limits.

“I feel like they’re limited because they represent the university,” he said. “My advice isn’t censored by the university.”

[pullquote]”I feel like they’re limited because they represent the university,” he said. “My advice isn’t censored by the university.”[/pullquote]

The lack of restriction allows him to say what he likes about BYU as well as things he does not like. He is honest about the page being his opinion, although he is trying to find people who can help to balance his ideas, especially when it comes to housing.

“I realize I am very biased against Helaman,” he said, as a resident of Heritage Halls. He says he is looking for residents from Helaman Halls and Wyview Park to post their housing reviews on his page.

Chandler said he wants to reach as many incoming freshmen as possible but maintains realistic expectations. He said he is not expecting to reach all of the freshmen but is aiming to have about 200 followers by the end of the summer.

Heidi Heller, a high school student from Chula Vista, Calif., accepted for fall semester, has found Chandler’s page helpful.

“My favorite part about it is that it’s from the point of view of a BYU student who’s been there, done that,” she said. Heller said she also appreciates the variety of content on the pages.

Ben Dougherty, a high school student from Alexandria, Va., will begin at BYU this summer. Dougherty found the link to “An Average Joe’s Advice to New Cougars” on a different Facebook page and decided to follow the page.

“I definitely think it’s helpful,” he said. “Yesterday, I was registering for classes and the creator had posted images — a step-by-step process of how to register for classes — so I was able to use them. It was easier.”



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