College Gets Social: Incorporating Social Media into Your Decision Process

The amount of social media present in the lives of young people today is astounding. We are constantly updating Facebook statuses, tweeting, sharing Instagram photos and checking in on Four Square. Because social media is such a big part of today’s culture, it is no surprise that a lot of colleges and universities utilize these various platforms for more than just fun statuses and photos. In fact, you might learn more about a certain college on its Facebook page than its actual website. Here are some ways you can use social media to aid your college search.

Establish A Presence

In order to reap all the benefits social media can offer, you first need to create accounts of your own. Facebook may seem like the place to be, but Twitter is also very useful, especially for more professional purposes. If you do not want to participate in the typical social media activities such as posting pictures of you and your friends or posting a new status every five minutes, then don’t! Your social media accounts can be used anyway you want; it is about you, who you want to socialize with and how you want to do it. The important thing is that you have some way to put yourself out there.

Start Connecting

When you start looking at schools, check out which ones have Facebook and Twitter accounts. If it looks like they are posting a lot of information, follow or like them! Some university admissions departments have their own separate social media identities; these are the accounts you really want to pay attention to. A lot of the things they post pertain directly to prospective students. Some colleges also have YouTube channels that feature current student interviews or tours of certain spots on campus. These are great resources you can utilize from your living room for free, no planning or traveling needed.

Join the Conversation

Reading other student questions and responses can be very helpful, but do not be afraid to ask questions of your own. A lot of universities DO respond when students post on their wall or mention them in a tweet. They realize social media is one of our primary forms of communication. Beyond communication with the university, you can also communicate with other students searching for the right college. Some Facebook pages have discussion boards where people can ask questions and talk about certain topics, such as dorms or student organizations. If you participate in these discussions, you will get some of your questions answered and see questions you never thought of before.

Social media is helpful during your college search, but do not stop using it once you decide on a school. Just like there are special accounts and discussion boards for prospective students, universities have them for accepted students as well. You can get an idea of things to do on campus, clubs to join and academic subjects to explore. Sometimes older students come into the group and offer their words of advice. You would be surprised how eager people are to advocate for their universities.  Keep networking and asking questions; there is no better way to make sure the college you pick is the right one for you.

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Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and strategic communication. With an interest in social media, she can often be found exploring the Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Pinterest profiles of big brands. Her laptop and iPhone never leave her side. Outside of school and work, Caitlin can be found enjoying a good TV show or two and spending time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Furin

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