Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Use Social Media for First Hand Information about U.S. Schools

Admit Data: Make Informed Admissions Decision
By Li Chang

How many social media accounts do you have? Are you using them to connect with U.S. universities and colleges? If you are not,  we think that you should. Our latest research report, Student Segmentation for an Effective International Enrollment Strategy found that international students prefer to acquire information from social media sites, namely, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. In fact, a majority of the students (70%) who responded to our survey said they primarily sought information through social media channels/platforms/profiles/networks that were managed by U.S. universities.

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The beauty of social media is that it has no boundaries and crosses all international borders. Without even coming to the U.S., prospective international students just like you can still find information about:
  • admissions
  • degree programs
  • financial aid
  • student activities
  • alumni connections
  • career prospects.

The interactive illustration below shows U.S. universities and colleges with international student populations larger than 1,000, according to IIE Open Doors 2012 data. Do you see your dream school listed? Want to see which of these institutions is actively involved with their students on social media? Follow our tips below!

So why should you use social media for your college search? 

#1) Colleges share data and admissions information that may not always be on their school website. 

Register for LinkedIn, even if you are a high school student. As of late 2013, 4,600  U.S. universities and colleges were on LinkedIn. This means that students as young as 14-years old can connect with university officers. For example, New York University’s Linkedin page shows information on where their alumni work and what they do. It’s never too early to start connecting with universities and building your portfolio! Create an account and leave your professional footprint on LinkedIn today.

*Note: You need to create an account on LinkedIn to view the school’s page. 

#2) Visit Facebook to learn about student life and campus activities.

U.S. universities and colleges like Facebook because of its reachability and influence to a wide range of audiences. However, you may find the information posted on Facebook very different from that posted on LinkedIn, where career prospects and professional networking tend to dominate. If you are interested in learning about the student activities and student life on campus, Facebook is definitely the place to go. 

#3) Explore your local social network

What should you do if these social networks are blocked in your country? Some forward-thinking institutions are also active on non-U.S. based networks, such as Sina Weibo and Cyworld. Those accounts are usually managed by the institution’s alumni and current students. While researching, be sure to explore extensively as you will find invaluable first-hand information from them! 


Since completing her undergraduate degree in China, Li has been working closely with international students from all over the world. Li earned a master’s degree in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language Teaching from East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. She loves hiking, skiing and fencing and enjoys learning about different cultures.

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