Though Mark E. Zuckerberg never received his diploma from Harvard College, the Admissions Office called upon him this year to be part of an admitted students video posted to the Class of 2018 admit page.
The video, which is available to the 2,023 students admitted to the Class of 2018 through both the early action and regular decision programs, features Zuckerberg welcoming students to the College and inviting them to join the Class of 2018 Facebook group.
“[The Admissions Office] thought it would be cool if I gave you the news, so congrats, you’ve been accepted to Harvard,” Zuckerberg said in the video, adding shortly thereafter, “I hope you go to Harvard and they hope you stay a bit longer than I did.”
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said that his office thought it would be a “fantastic” idea for admitted students to be greeted by Zuckerberg when they logged onto the Class of 2018 page.
“There are other places that have Facebook groups for admitted students, but there’s no place in the world where the Facebook group is greeted by Mark Zuckerberg,” Fitzsimmons said.
Currently, the official Class of 2018 Facebook group has about 1,600 members, some of whom are employees of the Office of Admissions, student representatives in other classes, or professors. Fitzsimmons called the group so far a “huge hit.”
Embree N. Thompson from Owings Mill, Md., who was admitted last week under the regular decision program, said that she was excited to see Zuckerberg in the admitted students video.
“[The video] definitely grabs your attention and obviously encourages you to matriculate at Harvard,” Thompson said. “If Harvard can do that much for him, they can do that much for you.”
Erin Y. Wang from Rochester, N.Y., said that she was also amused by Zuckerberg’s appearance.
“It was actually kind of funny,” Wang said. “He was like, ‘Oh, hopefully you will decide to stay for longer than I did.”
She also said that the class Facebook group has so far been useful for helping her learn more about Harvard.
“I really love it,” Wang said. “I don’t know when these groups started becoming popular, but they are very helpful, and a lot of kids ask questions that address the concerns of other people.”
Both admitted students and members of the Office of Admissions noted how the group can play an important role in providing information to prospective students before the College’s official admitted students weekend, Visitas, which typically takes place in the last week of April. Fitzsimmons said the significance of social media outreach increased in importance last year after Visitas weekend was cancelled due to the Boston Marathon bombings.
“One could argue that by having the Facebook group last year, both for the early action and regular action admits, it certainly must have had some measurable, perhaps significant effect on the yield,” Fitzsimmons said.
—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @trdelwic.