Report Finds Use of Social Networking Tools on the Rise in College Admission Offices

Posted on May 13, 2009. Filed under: college admissions, College Advice, college counseling |

One of the major discussions at the recent Independent Educational Consultant Association’s (IECA)Spring Conference in San Francisco focused on  the chatter  surrounding  social media networks and its impact on the college admissions process.

No question that myself as well as many of my colleagues are using these tools for communication and to learn more about students. The article below posted by the National Association of College Counselors NACAC further validates these nonstoppable and innovative networking tools.

College admission offices may take a student’s MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, or other online social networking activity into account during the college admission process, according to a paper released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). One-fourth of colleges surveyed indicated that they used Web search or social networking technology to locate information about prospective students. The paper suggests that colleges are also more likely than not to use social media in promotion and student recruitment.

“Social media tools, like Facebook, Twitter and blogs, are key to communicating with this generation of students,” stated Joyce Smith, NACAC CEO. “While still no substitute for face-to-face interaction, social media have opened lines of communication and inquiry for both students and institutions that were inconceivable only a decade ago.”

Other findings of note include:

  • More than half (53 percent) of colleges monitor social media for “buzz” about their institution.
  • A majority of colleges maintain a presence in social media, as 33 percent of colleges maintain a blog, 29 maintain a presence on social networking Web sites, 27 percent maintain message- or bulletin-boards, 19 percent employ video blogging, and 14 percent issue podcasts. Thirty-nine percent of colleges reported using no social media technology.
  • Eighty-eight percent of admission offices believed social media were either “somewhat” or “very” important to their future recruitment efforts.

The purpose of NACAC’s research on social networking sites was to 1) present recent data collected by the author on the extent to which colleges and universities are using social media for recruitment; 2) highlight best practices for blogging and the use of other social media and Web 2.0 applications for those institutions who are new to these endeavors; and 3) begin to explore the ethical and legal issues inherent in engaging with prospective students through these media.

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