Counterpoint: Is Skype the most beneficial medium for college meetings?

Caroline Katz and Adi Levin

Schreiber has recently implemented a new program in which students can interact with college representatives through Skype, as opposed to speaking with them face-to-face. Although the program wasn’t intended to replace meeting college representatives in person, many students consider the new program as an alternative to speaking to representatives directly.

“It shouldn’t take the place of face-to-face meetings; it’s supposed to enhance the flow of information,” said guidance director Mr. Hank Hardy.

The program is supposed to strengthen the quality of in-person discussions, but if students use Skype in lieu of traditional conferences, disadvantages may arise.

As far as first impressions are concerned, talking to college representatives through Skype cannot possibly compare to face-to-face meetings. Talking to someone in person creates a more memorable experience.

“It’s a little more comforting to be around a real person rather than a computer screen,” said junior Maxwell Silverstein.

Students can’t address their own private concerns in a Skype conversation, and it’s important for people to connect to representatives on a more personal level, which makes college and university representatives more approachable.

“You lose a part of someone’s personality through the screen,” said senior Haley Sambursky. “There’s a detachment when you aren’t actually talking face to face in the same room.”

Motivation plays a key role in the process of going to these meetings. If a college visits Schreiber, then most interested students feel obligated to attend, whereas if sessions are available online after the fact, students would be less likely to participate in the discussion.  A number of students aren’t even aware of what the Skype program entails, or don’t use it at all.

“My friends and I don’t have the time to sit through the interview and don’t have questions to ask. It’s kind of pointless to go if you don’t have questions prepared,” said senior Mia Crowley.

Not only do students experience problems with this program, but obstacles also arise for college representatives. Many colleges do not  want the Skype sessions to be recorded, making it impossible for students to access the meeting at a later point in time. If students choose to take part in Skype chats, instead of a proper face to face, and the college in question doesn’t want the conversation recorded, then they have no way of obtaining information that was discussed in that session.

“The purpose of speaking with college admissions representatives is to gain personal connections with schools and to ask the questions that are important in making your college decisions, yet both of these are completely lost through interactions over Skype,” said senior Evan Kaminsky.

Even if the conversation itself goes smoothly, technological problems are inevitable.  Unclear connections and glitches can definitely compromise the success of a session. Background noise and other distractions can also cause problems for students and representatives. You can go anywhere to Skype, but in a proper setting for a meeting, there should be few disturbances. The area is prepared to ensure that background noise will be kept to a minimum. Skype calls are far more informal, so participants don’t usually take many precautions.

Only a handful of colleges have participated in the Skype program, which limits students’ options.  However, ten times as many colleges have taken part in Schreiber’s Annual College Consortium, involving discussions with admissions representatives and Schreiber alumni. Overall, using Skype to interact with college representatives has many problems.

“There’s a very different feel over Skype,” said senior Crystal Ren.

Perhaps, if people considered it as an addition to the current face-to-face discussions, rather than a replacement, students could better use it to their advantage. Skype could never take the place of meeting representatives in person.

Schreiber has recently implemented a new program in which students can interact with college representatives through Skype, as opposed to speaking with them face-to-face. Although the program wasn’t intended to replace meeting college representatives in person, many students consider the new program as an alternative to speaking to representatives directly.

“It shouldn’t take the place of face-to-face meetings; it’s supposed to enhance the flow of information,” said guidance director Mr. Hank Hardy.

The program is supposed to strengthen the quality of in-person discussions, but if students use Skype in lieu of traditional conferences, disadvantages may arise.

As far as first impressions are concerned, talking to college representatives through Skype cannot possibly compare to face-to-face meetings. Talking to someone in person creates a more memorable experience.

“It’s a little more comforting to be around a real person rather than a computer screen,” said junior Maxwell Silverstein.

Students can’t address their own private concerns in a Skype conversation, and it’s important for people to connect to representatives on a more personal level, which makes college and university representatives more approachable.

“You lose a part of someone’s personality through the screen,” said senior Haley Sambursky. “There’s a detachment when you aren’t actually talking face to face in the same room.”

Motivation plays a key role in the process of going to these meetings. If a college visits Schreiber, then most interested students feel obligated to attend, whereas if sessions are available online after the fact, students would be less likely to participate in the discussion.  A number of students aren’t even aware of what the Skype program entails, or don’t use it at all.

“My friends and I don’t have the time to sit through the interview and don’t have questions to ask. It’s kind of pointless to go if you don’t have questions prepared,” said senior Mia Crowley.

Not only do students experience problems with this program, but obstacles also arise for college representatives. Many colleges do not  want the Skype sessions to be recorded, making it impossible for students to access the meeting at a later point in time. If students choose to take part in Skype chats, instead of a proper face to face, and the college in question doesn’t want the conversation recorded, then they have no way of obtaining information that was discussed in that session.

“The purpose of speaking with college admissions representatives is to gain personal connections with schools and to ask the questions that are important in making your college decisions, yet both of these are completely lost through interactions over Skype,” said senior Evan Kaminsky.

Even if the conversation itself goes smoothly, technological problems are inevitable.  Unclear connections and glitches can definitely compromise the success of a session. Background noise and other distractions can also cause problems for students and representatives. You can go anywhere to Skype, but in a proper setting for a meeting, there should be few disturbances. The area is prepared to ensure that background noise will be kept to a minimum. Skype calls are far more informal, so participants don’t usually take many precautions.

Only a handful of colleges have participated in the Skype program, which limits students’ options.  However, ten times as many colleges have taken part in Schreiber’s Annual College Consortium, involving discussions with admissions representatives and Schreiber alumni. Overall, using Skype to interact with college representatives has many problems.

“There’s a very different feel over Skype,” said senior Crystal Ren.

Perhaps, if people considered it as an addition to the current face-to-face discussions, rather than a replacement, students could better use it to their advantage. Skype could never take the place of meeting representatives in person.