Guess Who? Seniors on Facebook

By Abigail Garber There are many questions that go through the head of a rising senior: Will the senior treats be good? Is the senior lounge worth the wait? And most importantly, what will my senior name be? The last few days before school starts are filled with seniors changing their names on Facebook and photoshopping matching profile pictures and cover photos. But what is the real purpose of a senior name? Senior names originated because seniors didn’t want colleges to look up their social media when they were applying. God forbid, colleges would reject them if they saw things that they posted, like parties, profane language, and alcohol or drug use. But at Latin, senior names have become more of a tradition than of a means to hide from colleges. Many students change their name because all of their friends do. Eric Andresen, or Andresen Cooper (as he is known on Facebook), said that he changed his name “because it’s a cool tradition.” Not only do people have senior names because of tradition, but they also try to be as creative as they can with their names. For the most part, people choose to make puns with their names. A few examples are Grace Coberly as Corn OnThe Coberly, Philip Hinkes as StudentPhil-anthropy Initiative, and myself as Downton Abby. Senior names aren’t just a Latin tradition but are popular at high schools all across the country: I have friends in California, Massachusetts, and Missouri who have senior Facebook names. However, at other schools, like Peyton and Jones, senior names aren’t as big of a tradition. A friend of mine who is a senior at Jones told me that senior names aren’t very popular at the school, and people who do have a senior are actively trying to avoid colleges finding their account. Even some Latin students chose not to change their name. When Lucy Limanowski told me that she didn’t change her name, she explained, “I don’t post anything that a college would look down upon. Also, many colleges I know have staff and computer resources to find you on Facebook whether or not you changed your name, so if they found me and saw I changed my name, I feel like I’d look like I’m trying to hide something. I don’t want to be portrayed that way.” Despite these valid exceptions, senior names continue to be an exciting rite of passage for most of Latin’s Class of 2017. The darker side of the tradition, of hiding inappropriate posts from college admissions teams, remains regardless.]]>