Washington, October 15 : For freshers, social networking site 'Facebook' is the best way to ease anxiety and loneliness during the crucial first year, shows a new study.
According to the researchers at the University of Leicester, a high percentage of freshers used the Internet to smooth the settling-in process by using social networking sites and podcasting.
The survey questioned 221 first year students and found 55 percent had registered at the social networking site before entering the university while 43 percent had joined straight away after starting university.
Almost three quarters said that 'Facebook' helped them integrate into university life.
While over a third of the students said they used 'Facebook' for academic discussion on a weekly basis, 7 per cent revealed that they had used the site as a direct and formal process of teaching and learning.
The researchers said: ""The survey data illustrate that Facebook is part of the 'social glue' that helps students settle into university life, that keeps the student body together as a community and which aids in communication (especially about social events) between the student body."
They further added that though 'Facebook' served the purpose of informal learning for many, yet it should not be over-emphasised since it was only a part of student's social space.
They said: "However, care must be taken not to over privilege Facebook: it is clearly only one aspect of student's social networking practices and clearly face-to-face relationships and interactions remain significant."
The study was conducted by Dr. Jane Wellens from the University's Staff Development Centre, Dr Clare Madge from the Department of Geography, Dr Tristram Hooley from CRAC: The Career Development Organisation and Dr Julia Meek from Lifecycle Evaluation.