More than just socializing on Facebook

When a college student is looking for others’ input on a social issue, for instance, music, fashion or dating, he or she may turn to one of the many social networking Web sites, such as Facebook or MySpace, to discuss it with friends or to read what others have said about a comparable matter.
However, many college students do not know that Facebook not only offers applications to guide one’s personal life, but also a student’s academic trials and tribulations as well.

Applications can be anything from quizzes, games, and new ways to interact with your Facebook friends. They are small programs, generally built by a third party. Applications offer a wide range of options.

One of the categories is education. Students can turn to Facebook to share their class schedule, form study groups, and share, purchase or sell textbooks. These virtual study groups give classmates an opportunity to share questions, compare notes, and review for tests.

Experts have shown that joining a study group can enhance a student’s learning process. Students are able to move outside their circle of friends, and reach out to that annoying nerd who ceaselessly takes notes and asks questions in class. This person will be a new best friend.

These educational applications have been very successful. “Courses 2.0” was recently named the fourth-best application on Facebook by PC Magazine. This application allows users to share a class schedule visually on a profile page, save money by sharing and buying textbooks, and according to Courses 2.0 creator,, form a network of peers to “knock out the homework you get stuck on.”

Some other help-you-study applications available on Facebook include:

  • Cram101 College Study Network: outlines and highlights thousands of college textbooks. They offer sample examinations and the opportunity to share notes with fellow classmates.
  • Study Groups: lets students quickly and easily collaborate with classmates, and plan homework for courses.

For students considering undergraduate or graduate school, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions recently introduced “Qbank,” a suite of applications designed for students preparing for licensing or entrance exams, including SAT preparation for high school students.

Then-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in February, 2004 as a hobby project. Initially, it was available only to college students and faculty in the U.S. and Canada, and only accessible to students with a valid college-issued e-mail address. According to, by September 2005, nearly 85 percent of students at the Facebook-recognized schools had an account.

Today, ranks as the fourth most-visited site on the Web, behind Google, Yahoo, and YouTube, as ranked by the Web traffic-ranking company, Alexa. Facebook boasts having over 200 million users worldwide.