With each new day, more and more information is readily accessible on the Internet. The constantly expanding world of social networks is a great source of information for college students. But while they can easily access information about potential colleges on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, those same colleges can use these social media sites to look into the lives of college applicants. With the help of social media, the student can better grasp what their next four years will be like, yet the college can also look past the student’s application. They can see the student’s character in everyday life, recorded and catalogued, available for all to see. Social media is a powerful tool for the applicant to size up a potential school, as well as for the potential school to size up the applicant.
The official website for most universities is a great source of information about academic life at the school. But it is similar to the application of the potential college student: glossy, clean and pristine. It accurately provides the facts and most students turn to the official website when they want factual information. But the site doesn’t offer a catalogue of the social life on campus. Many prospective college students are turning to social media sites to get a better feel for the universities to which they are applying. In a recent survey, 65 percent of students surveyed stated that a college Facebook site is their number one destination for learning about the social environment of a school.
It is beneficial because it allows the applicant to see how real students are interacting with each other. It allows the applicant to see the real experiences of real students. The same survey showed that 75 percent of students would prefer to use Facebook to connect with enrolled students at these universities,as opposed to fellow applicants. This is why social media is so significant to the prospective student; it gives them a window into a real college campus and helps them better visualize how life will be for them when they are enrolled at the university. For those students who do not have the time or money to make the trek across the country to visit their dream school, social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube provide a lot of beneficial content that can help the student make a more informed decision on which school would be the best fit.
Social media is a two-way street and it is becoming a powerful tool for the college admissions officer as well. In a recent survey by Kaplan, 26 percent of admissions officers stated that they used Facebook profiles and 27 percent used Google search results in their evaluations of college applicants. These numbers are expected to rise with each year,as social media becomes more of a prevalent societal norm. Of those admissions officers who use Internet profiling in their evaluations, 35 percent of them have found content that impacted their decision on the applicant’s admission. Most colleges have not yet put forth guidelines that prohibit admissions officers from looking at an applicant’s social media profiles. As a result, many college applicants will place extreme privacy controls on their social media accounts, even at times changing their names on the profiles until they have been accepted or declined by the various universities.
Use social media as a tool to help you make the best decision possible. Explore the digital representation of each school you are interested in, and be sure to always keep your Internet presence tasteful and beyond reproach. Brought to you by Southern New Hampshire University’s Online college Degree Programs