By Ian Frantz
With the release of the Merit Pages phone application for Youngstown State University, students have been given the opportunity to market themselves.
Merit Pages was created by Colin Mathews in 2007 to help schools build websites that allow them to announce accomplishments earned by students. The students’ pages and all their accomplishments can be accessed by anyone in the public with ease.
Ron Cole, director of university communications, said YSU started using Merit Pages four years ago and said he believes it to be one of the more successful means of acknowledging a student’s work and effort.
“We were looking for a way to circulate the dean’s list to local newspapers and it has grown into one of YSU’s greatest tools,” Cole said.
Cole said when a person becomes a YSU student, the university creates a page for them on the Merit Page website, which can then be edited by YSU faculty or by the student themselves.
“We purchased the service and have our own page that we control. We get all the information about the student from the information they give us upon entering YSU and any news of an achievement they earn comes from the faculty,” Cole said.
Cole said YSU, one of the earliest adopters of Merit Pages, has benefited from its growth as a service.
“It started out only with announcing the dean’s list but now we have given out over 100 different merits to over 6,000 students, and I know we only scratched the surface,” Cole said.
Katie Biller, sophomore pre-business major, said she has used her page in the past and said it’s convenient.
“I have it attached to my LinkedIn account and [it] helps me organize my activities while in school,” Biller said.
Biller said she was surprised by the amount of her information on Merit Pages, but she figured all of it was already posted on the internet before.
Craig Deering, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said he could see if someone would be nervous about having their information being open to the public, but he was not concerned about his information being used.
Joel Perry, a junior business major, echoed Deering’s thoughts about YSU using his information.
“It’s not asking for my credit card information or my social security number so as long as it doesn’t negatively affect my career, it’s fine,” Perry said.
Cole said new students should get an email once they have been accepted as a student at YSU explaining the details of Merit Pages.
“The students can edit their Merit page if they like and when they do something that earns them a merit, they get their own personalized news release that they can take with them in their career,” Cole said.
Cole said a student can decline the service if they choose, but he said he believes Merit Pages can help students achieve great things.
“One of the biggest things it has going for it is its potential and seeing it continue to grow can only help students in the long term,” Cole said.