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Using Social Media When Choosing a University

By Daisy Ware-Jarrett

Updated March 6, 2021 Updated March 6, 2021

Choosing a university to attend after finishing high school can seem daunting, but with social media by your side this process can be a lot less stressful. At the moment it might seem like the most important thing is just to get any university to accept you, but what’s equally important is that you find the institution that best suits you and will help you develop your skills in the right areas. Here’s how using social media can help you find the right university:

Connect with universities online

Thanks to the social media boom of the last decade, it is now considered normal for academic institutions to have official Twitter and Facebook feeds. Gone are the days when in order to get your questions answered you had to play ‘email table tennis’ with multiple staff members!

There’s huge pressure for universities to respond almost immediately to questions asked via social media sites, and that’s great news for you. These platforms not only let you engage quickly and efficiently with the university, but also to observe what kind of content they are publishing, allowing you to weigh up your options and get a feel for the institution. Some universities’ online presence even includes specific Twitter accounts for each department or course, so be sure to have a dig around. 

Explore the new LinkedIn University Pages

Last month, LinkedIn announced its new University Pages feature, a milestone in the relationship between social media and the task of choosing a university. Although the service is still building momentum, you should definitely check out this one-stop shop, which aims to make it easier for prospective students to communicate with universities.

Each university page includes contact information, statistics on what jobs graduates have gone on to, and list after list of present and past faculty members – each in turn with their own LinkedIn profile, allowing you to see the credentials and specialist areas of your possible tutors. You can even search for universities by student population numbers. LinkedIn University Pages looks set to become a game changer in the way choosing a university is done, so why not jump on the bandwagon early on?

Embrace hashtag power (#)

For more personal insights into the factors you consider when choosing a university, you can't beat hashtag power! Try searching for relevant hashtags using social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and more. A quick Instagram search on my phone for “#HarvardUniversity” brings more than 3,800 images (at the time of writing) straight to my fingertips, providing a collection of authentic students’ perspectives.

This is also great way to get a feel for what’s happening at the university. When we experience both the good and the bad, our modern-day reaction is to head to Twitter or Facebook and either vent or praise – making it easy to get insights into public, student and media opinions. Try not to take to much notice of the trolls* though.

With all this information constantly streaming on a daily basis, you should get a good idea of each universities’ aims, ethos and student community in no time. If you still have questions, just ask them – using social media means you’re likely to get a quick response. Good luck! 

*Troll - “In internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people.” - Wikipedia

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This article was originally published in September 2013 . It was last updated in March 2021

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