Friday, October 28, 2011

College Bound Students Flocking to Social Networks

College Bound Students Flocking to Social Networks
Dr. Stephen Jones

The road to college is paved with social networks. Thousands of students are racing to social networks to fulfill their thirst for information about college life. Students are all meeting their new roommates on line. They can share their high school experiences and discuss likes and dislikes before arriving on campus. It’s a boom for Facebook where students are able to share pictures and videos. The college roommate surprise will never be the same again. Today students can read what upper-class students are saying about their campus. There is no lack of information. These are great times to identify the college of your choice. Colleges are working feverishly to keep up with college student trends on social networks. There are a lot of social networks targeting the college bound student.

Some of the social networks that are getting the most activity are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Colleges are starting fun Fan Pages on Facebook that cater to high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students. These pages have become a gateway into college life. A student and parent can find out what’s happening on campus every day. The social networks make it easy to learn about guest lectures, theater, concerts and sports events. A student can also learn the best time to visit a college.

A student can get an idea of the type of college that they want to attend by taking advantage of information that students are posting. The college bound student can ask questions and add comments that were previously answered during campus tours. Every high school student wants to know how current students like the residence halls. College admission offices are also offering students an opportunity to register on an internal website that feels like a social network. It is a great way for students to stay in touch regarding admissions dates, open house and campus visits.

Some colleges are able to immediately answer questions regarding financial aid and other issues like international studies. The colleges get undergraduate students involved in taking videos that give a taste of college life. Some campus staffs hire a professional video person to do a video recording of the best aspects of campus life. The videos get a lot of hits from individuals who are seeking college information. Students are able to view the videos on their cell phones and they can make comments too. A very creative video can go viral and generate a lot of buzz and that’s what colleges want.

Many colleges are tweeting information on Twitter. Twitter allows that participant to make many short statements about a variety of campus topics. Twitter gives a college an opportunity to give a moment by moment time line of an event that’s happening on campus. You can learn about and event and receive a link to get further details. A college student can also make a follow up comment about the event on the page were the event is tweeted. Twitter provides a quick response since the person who is commenting can only use 140 characters. You can follow several comments that are made about an ongoing event and arrange to meet the person live. Students are getting on twitter to get news and to learn about topics that they are discussing in class. There is always someone who is willing to help by sharing information on twitter.

Although Linkedin is a social network that targets professionals there are undergraduate and graduate students who are connecting on Linkedin. They have uncovered the tremendous amount of career support that’s available through the professionals who participate. As a student expands their network on Linkedin they are able to meet professionals who are in their career. There may also be a college alumni association that offers valuable career information. Alumni can be a great resource in terms of their experience and many are willing to be a mentor. Linkedin is a great place to get noticed when a student is searching for a job. The professionals are willing to answer questions when individuals join groups. Most groups are named right after their college, for example the Villanova alumni network. You can get to know people by being consistent in your level of participation on social networks.

The trend toward the presence of colleges on social networks will only continue to grow. Students want as much information as they can obtain. The colleges want to increase interest and potential applicants and they are very motivated to be active in the social networks. You can count on colleges getting even more creative in terms of how they are using social networks. Students are benefiting from the boom in social networks and continue to fuel the internet in how college can meet them where they live on the internet. To get more information daily “Like” my fan page at or contact me at 610-842-3843.

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