The use of social media is no longer limited to posting vacation photos and connecting with old friends. More and more, college admissions officials are using social media to recruit and research potential students. Research from Kaplan shows that in 2010, 87% of admissions officers reported using Facebook, 76% used Twitter, and 73% used YouTube to recruit prospective students. This doesn’t only mean that students should clean up their Facebook pages. It also presents an opportunity for students to use social media to their advantage in the admissions process.
Use social media to…
Demonstrate interest. College will often publish a statistic called a yield rate. This number indicates the percentage of students that accepted the school’s offer of admission. Colleges want this number to be high, and try to do this by offering admission to students that take extra efforts to demonstrate their interest in the school. Subscribe to a school’s YouTube channel, follow their Twitter feed, and/or like their Facebook page. Then use these social media avenues to communicate with admissions officials.
Communicate with school officials. Once a part of an online community, students are instantly connected with others that are connected to the school–admissions officials, current students, possibly even professors. Students should communicate with people to get even more information about the school and build connections with those affiliated with the school.
Display successes. Show off awards and achievements using social media. Post photos of “Most Outstanding Student” certificates, Tweet new statistics achieved in sports, or post a video clip of the school play where you were given the main role. Think of it as a fun, online resume.
Show who you are–beyond the numbers. You’re more than your GPA and test scores. Admissions officials often emphasize their holistic review of your application and social media can be used to highlight those passions listed on your resume. A competitive dancer? Upload that video where you took 1st place in your category to YouTube. Or post that photo of a house that you helped build and affirmed your choice to major in architecture.