A husband and a wife are in a nice restaurant for Valentines Day. The husband looks over to the table next to them where a high school aged couple is celebrating Valentine’s Day as well. Both high schoolers have their phones out, typing away in the midst of chit chat, laughter, and perpetual scrolling. The husband turns to his wife and says, “our kids will never do that, these two aren’t even talking to each other, kids nowadays don’t know how to have a real conversation because they are always on their phones!” I still think that is better than the couple that sits in silence for the entire meal, but I digress. Regardless, what if those high schoolers were actually using social media to benefit their college search?Below are a few ideas for how students can maximize their Instagram and LinkedIn use to help them find their ideal college fit.
Instagram. One of my favorite ways for students to research and “explore” colleges is through Instagram. Most student use Google, virtual tours, Wikipedia, etc. But with Instagram, you can see directly into the school culture in real-time. Here is how:
What you will see is all of the “top” posts that have tagged that specific college, but next to that is the “recent” posts which will allow you to view what is happening live at any college. This will provide a glimpse into the school culture and opportunity to connect with those in that college community. If you are interested in studying biology, you might see a post of a research student using a microscope, and you would be able to send them a message asking for advice and insight into being a biology student at that college. I have found this to be a very useful resource for students to connect with current college students and get direct feedback that they can use for their own college search. Each year my students are surprised by how much college students are willing to answer questions and share insights into their experience, but the caveat is: you have to step out of your comfort zone and ask! Also, very important about Instagram. Almost all colleges have pages for their admission department and it might be a REALLY good idea to interact with them! If you have a college you are very interested in, should you follow their content? (Yes!) LinkedInLinkedIn is one of the most powerful platforms any high school student can use (as long as they are sixteen which is the minimum age requirement). LinkedIn will provide a way for students to connect with current professionals in the industry they are interested in, or if the student has no clue what they are interested in, they can connect with professionals across many different industries. Here’s a step by step guide to maximize your LinkedIn use:
Students, now when you see adults scoffing at you because you are on your phone at a restaurant, just tell them it’s for college! That might be a stretch, but now you know two new ways to use technology for more than just SnapChat and Fortnite. Use these opportunities to learn more about colleges, connect with professionals in any industry, and interact with colleges every single day!