We’re going to be editing a few popular threads

Summary

In an effort to make forum content easier to find and increase visibility, CC staff will be editing the title and initial post of some popular threads focused on college decisions. For most users this won’t have any noticeable impact.

Background

We are entering the final stretch for high school seniors preparing for college. On top of their already busy schedules, they are starting to hear back from schools they applied to. (Some students have already heard back from schools they applied to using Early Decision or Early Action.) The good news is that CC has many of the answers they are searching for. We know because of the many people coming via search. Here are some of the most searched-for threads on the forums right now:

However, our data shows us that it’s sometimes hard to identify the official thread in each schools’ category. Northwestern 2025! has the right spirit, but if it were more descriptive it would improve the user’s ability to find the thread. So we’re changing the title to “Northwestern Class of 2025—Regular Decision Release Date: March 26”. Standardizing on a title format will help people who are already active on the site too. In some cases, we will also be adding some information to the first post to summarize the purpose of the thread for new users.

The goal is just to make sure people who want to discuss the admissions process on a particular school can easily find the right discussion thread. We’ll be trying out a few edits to see what is most effective. In the future, we’ll use what we learn to make sure next year’s threads are easier to find for people who are looking for them.

3 Likes

This may cause a lot of confusion for edge cases. For example, Northeastern is both not the class of 2025 due to the 5-year co-op program many do, and also has no official release date (the “By April 1st” date is always released before).

Maybe this is more my specific case, but I think the pinning system would be far better to indicate the active threads.

Another consideration is that I was not planning to make the official RD thread for my forum until next week to avoid too much release date speculation and anxiety.

With that in mind, I would suggest the following guidelines instead of what’s proposed above:

  1. Pin all official threads to their respective forums
  2. Lead with full school name (using common abbreviations, like SLO, only when it would be extremely lengthy or unrecognizable)
  3. Decision type next (EA, RD, SCEA, etc) using the abbreviation, ommited if all in one
  4. Year can be either 2021 or 2025 to consider cases of non-4 year schools like Northeastern, Drexel, Waterloo, etc
  5. Decision dates included in the first post, not in the title. Too many schools fall outside of having a set date that it’s nearly an edge case to have one

So for the above + Northeastern’s case:
University of Florida: Class of 2025 Decisions
Cal Poly SLO: Class of 2025 Decisions
University of Michigan EA: Class of 2025 Decisions
UC Irvine: Class of 2025 Decisions
University of Connecticut: Class of 2025 Decisions
University of Washington: Class of 2025 Decisions
Northeastern University RD: 2021 Decisions

Happy to discuss further but I think that title format is way too long as is and will break a lot of cases.

1 Like

These are excellent points! I ended up changing the Northeastern thread title to be: “Northeastern Class of 2025 — Regular Decision Date: by April 1”. I know that looks like I completely ignored your answer, so I wanted to explain the reasoning in more detail.

Totally understand that. It completely confused me too when I first visited CC. But it’s pretty clear students who are applying to college are used to this terminology. You can see it in the body of the Northeastern thread started by a high-school senior:

hi y’all ik its kinda early but i haven’t seen an rd thread for northeastern for class of 2025 so i thought i’d make one :)) we can talk ab stats, questions, app process, and results when they eventually come out

We’d like to go back and edit older thread titles so that it’s easier to find historical information too. There’s a lot of interesting tidbits from previous years and standardizing on a date format will help people find them.

That’s true for many schools. But again this is information students are searching for. One of the reasons we’ve been gathering decision dates is that many people are looking for that bit of information. As schools start releasing decisions, I plan to go back and update the titles with that information too. Again, we think it’ll have historical value as well.

I’ve decided not to start new threads for that reason. If someone else starts a thread, that’s fine. But I found that even starting polls was enough to get students stressed out. I think adding the date based on our best available information is a service we can provide.

I do like the idea of pinning these threads. I seem to always forget to do that, but I will try in the future. And It does, perhaps, make sense to move the actual decision date to the beginning of the post. It might even make sense to make it editable like we have done with some Musical Theater threads (e.g., MT Acceptances by school for the Class of 2025). That way I won’t have to update it whenever there is new information.

We’re still playing with other variations to see which work best. We have hard data for this, but it does take some time to see the results. If it turns out we aren’t seeing the sort of change we expect, we can revisit the title template.