By Lauren Matheny, Lifestyles Editor
Students have a one-stop website to track their achievements and to announce those successes to their friends through social media.
The OKCU Merit Pages program was introduced in January 2014 as a way for students to publicize their achievements.
The website is run through Merit Pages, Inc., a company which helps universities create a platform to promote student success.
The Merit network allows universities to update academic achievements for students.
Students can go to okcu.meritpages.com to access their own page, where they can update their profile with a picture, work experience and other experiential achievements.
The program was initiated as part of the university’s overall branding mission, said Sandy Pantlik, senior director of university communications.
“Some of the qualities OCU values are prestige and academic excellence, and we felt like this program was a way that we could really focus on students and their achievement,” Pantlik said. “The goal of the Merit program is really to spread the word; to give recognition, and then reach out to the media and to parents as well.”
The Merit Page site gives students the option to link the program to their Facebook or to specific email accounts which will be notified when new achievements are added. In addition, the program sends frequent updates to local media about achievements from students.
The website allows administrators to add verified achievements to the student pages, including such accolades as “Named to Dean’s Honor Roll” and “Admittance to OKCU.” Students also can add their own achievements.
These achievements appear as badges on the student’s merit page. This official verification adds some prestige to the awards, said Chris Cox, assistant director of marketing services.
“The information issued by the school is verified, which is great for them to see that OKCU put up the achievement, rather than you just putting it on there,” Cox said. “OKCU saying it adds credibility. Students can also add in their own achievements or participation on campus, and we can verify those experiences as well.”
Pantlik said, once these achievements are loaded, the page then becomes a useful tool for students to promote themselves.
“Students can track their achievements, and Merit helps them share that information with future employers. It can also be used if a student is applying to graduate school, or for an internship,” Pantlik said.
Merit users have the option to share their page, view email or to link it in professional resumes, making it available to any potential employers, professors, or internship leaders.
The badges do not simply cover Honor’s awards. Cox said the team is trying to come up with new awards that show the unique successes of OCU students.
“We try to come up with clever new ones all the time,” Cox said. “My favorite is the ‘Campus Visit’ badge for prospective students. They don’t need to attend the university to get it; we recognize them for visiting.”
The program is successful, with more than 2,800 unique pages for students at OKCU, Pantlik said.
But the program administrators are always looking for more campus engagement.
“People seem to love using it, but it’s our goal to keep expanding,” Pantlik said. “If you’re getting our emails, please open them. And we’d love for students to send us any ideas they have for new badges or new achievements.”
Students who know about the pages think they are a useful tool. Seniors are especially involved with the pages.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Lauren Thompson, acting senior. “I could imagine sending it out in addition to a resume, so you don’t have to just bloat your resume with information. It’s one more thing to let people know about you.”