This week LinkedIn launched University pages for 200 colleges and universities including one for my Alma Mater, Syracuse University. The pages are meant to be a resource for prospective students in the thick of their college selection process.
The pages provide an additional touchpoint to communicate University facts and figures to prospective students. Standard information such as the official website, admissions contact information, tuition figures, total student / faculty population and student demographic data (such as male / female spilt) are featured. The pages also provide a forum for University Admissions representatives to have a candid conversation with prospective students through Q&A postings.
However, where the LinkedIn pages provide a unique twist on owned University social media properties, is the ability for prospective students to review Alumni information. Aggregated Alumni data including popular career fields, companies of employment and notable Alumni provide a glimpse into the post-college years and truly answers the question “What will these four years of education get me?”
The networking building aspect of LinkedIn is also not lost within these University pages. By interacting with the page, prospective and current students are given a leg up in gaining recommendations for college and internship applications where it is usually beneficial to know someone who knows someone.
Not only does the networking function further students short term goals of getting into the college of their choice or scoring that perfect internship, but it familiarizes them with networking early in their career. Next to a college education, tactful networking know-how is a beneficial post-college skill.
LinkedIn University pages can be seen as another tool in the Office of Admissions’ toolbox when it comes to wooing prospective students. As LinkedIn is known as a professional environment for professional conversations, it is best if Colleges and Universities use this space for buttoned up professional communications with perspective students.
I am of the belief that College and University Facebook pages and Twitter feeds should not generally be used for official Office of Admissions communications. These spaces should instead be utilized to paint a true, though PG version, of student life. Facebook and Twitter allow current students to discuss student life first hand within the comfortable confines of social media. Alumni too can relish in the days past through firsthand accounts, multi-media fueled accounts of current student activities.
In other news, I am extremely jealous that a resource did not exist like this when I was visiting colleges and universities some mmmmhhmmm years ago. What about you? Are you in favor of these new University LinkedIn pages? Do you see the value they provide to both prospective students and Office of Admissions staff?