Today’s colleges and universities have embraced social media as a marketing tool to attract and familiarize students with the advantage of their academic and social environments. As hubs of learning, college admissions officers have learned about the power of branding and digital marketing, according to Bestcolleges.com. Harvard, for instance, currently has over five million followers on Facebook, 853,000 on Twitter and 790,000 on Instagram. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has 650,000 on Facebook, 203,000 on Twitter, and 169,000 on Instagram. The schools that weigh in as the Top 25 “Stars of Social Media” have learned to effectively communicate messages, new information, policies, photos and special events to impressively vast audiences. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat lead the list of websites and Apps that help students to learn about college environments even before they visit, apply to, accept or set foot on campus.
So here is a great opportunity for applicants to learn about and connect with the colleges in which they are interested. The college’s social media platforms publicize changes in programs and new academic and extra-curricular offerings, staff, facilities and funding. Admissions officers encourage their followers to communicate with them, often personally responding to individual questions and concerns.
According to Darien Somers in “Do Colleges Look at Your Social Media Accounts?” a Kaplan Test Prep survey of more than 350 U.S. college admissions officers showed that 35 percent of them looked at applicants’ social media accounts to learn more about them. This can be helpful, but it can certainly be somewhat harmful as well. Although there is no indication that a majority of admissions officers spend any time engaging in social media snooping, the percentage of those who do increased by approximately 11% in 2017.
Therefore, before you plunge into the college social media pool, you might consider doing the following:
- Establish a simple and suitable email address that could be used exclusively for communication with them.
- Review and if possible delete your social media postings and photos that might not be in the best of taste.
- Be certain that any posts or photos in the future reflect good decision-making!