Social Media not only helping students, but universities as well

Posted by: Zachary Smith

Students are not the only group that benefit from social media usage; universities are too.  Universities are now using social media as tools for admissions, programming, networking with alumni and communication tools for parents.

Social media, such as Facebook, allow for perspective students to feel collected to a university campus before stepping foot on its campus for the first time.  Admissions offices around the country are feeding into these community building opportunities to help increase applicants and enrollments.

According to Online Universities, “once students arrive on campus, their social media use mediates the ways in which they interact with their peers.”  Through Facebook groups or Twitter hashtags for specific residence hall floors or classes, student organizations or student hometowns, social media are allowing students to form connections with future classmates before class sessions start.

Furthermore, university alumni offices are using social media for ways that current students can network with alumni.  Drake University, for example, used Twitter for alumni to tweet  academic advice to the incoming freshman class.  Connections were instantly built between current students and alumni, and it took very little time or money from the university.

Social networking tools allow for universities to build community before students arrive to campus.

This trend of colleges and universities using social media has increased in recent years.  Business Grow reports that “100 percent of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media, up from 95 percent last year…and 61 percent in 2008.”  Admissions offices are most commonly using Facebook and Twitter, while Alumni offices are using Linkedln.

It appears that these social media tools are exceeding their expectations and goals.  Business Grow states extremely positive outcomes for social media tools, especially Facebook and YouTube.

Some universities are even turning the tables and gaining information on perspective students using search engines and social media.

Are you motivated to use these social media outlets as ways to build connections with current and future alumni?  Will social media be a way that you keep in contact with former professors and current students after graduation?  Should admission offices spend more time promoting their school on social media sites? Do you think it is ethical for universities to gain information on perspective students using search engines an social media searches?

9 responses to “Social Media not only helping students, but universities as well

  1. I am already connected to professors, alumni and various Drake organizations through Twitter. Just this week, I had a tweet conversation with the Drake Career Center. It’s about making connections now and keeping them down the road.

  2. You are absolutely right…connections now do you no good at all if you choose not to keep them down the road.

  3. Think about LinkedIn, an entire web site dedicated to networking. HR representatives often use LinkedIn as a potential employee’s résumé – it’s integral to present yourself well and stay connected with people who saw your work in college and helped you develop. I hope to use social media to receive updates from Drake and stay updated with my professors after I graduate.

    As far as the ethics of potential employers/colleges searching students on the web goes, I think students need to be aware that this actually happens – whether we like it or not. I know so many people who have “questionable” photos and posts on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s common knowledge that potential employers search for us online, and I don’t trust Facebook’s privacy settings enough to take risks with my future.

    • I completely agree with you. As a future teacher, I do not want my students or my student’s parents to see any questionable material on my Facebook. Having this happen could not only make me lose credibility, but also my job. I think it is true that young professionals do not always have a complete understanding of the negative consequences that can come from what they post on their online profiles.

  4. I agree with you completely, Olivia. Some people are just unaware that employers and colleges check your social media sites, but the truth is that they do it all the time.

    As for keeping connections, I would love to keep in contact with Drake and all the fun activities (maybe even revisiting Relays!) after graduation and I think social media is a great way to make that happen!

  5. I think that social media usage is really important for relationships with current and past Drake students/faculty. It is especially important for current students to communicate with alumni because they could help current students get jobs. Social media has been a great way for students to communicate and I love the idea of alumni tweeting at freshmen. Drake is great at tying the entire Bulldog family together, and I think that sets us apart from the crowd!

  6. It really depends on what the group or outlet is for. I was a “Drake Class of 2014″ Facebook group member the summer before my freshman year, but I can honestly say I’m not friends with any of the people I met online now. However, Facebook and Twitter are great for communicating with various organizations and about events on campus.

  7. I think universities utilizing Facebook and Twitter is a great way to get on a more personal level with prospective and current students. It is an easy way to build relationships. Students feel comfortable using the Internet and social media. They are more likely to initiate conversation on these platforms than calling someone or having a conversation in person. Stick them in a room of alumni, and they would probably clam up.

  8. Emily - Drake University

    I think social media use for universities will be great. Since it’s a relatively new thing, it seems like we’re still trying to figure out how to do it while keeping up some boundaries. Students, especially journalism students, are all extremely comfortable using social media sites and, like Olivia said, may post things that the university doesn’t need (or want) to see. I liked the way Drake used Twitter to connect with the incoming freshman this summer. I also agree that we are probably more comfortable connecting with professors or alumni through Twitter than we would be in person.

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