Monday, October 13, 2014

6 Newer Technologies to Help International Students Gather Information

By Megha Roy
Research Assistant, World Education Services

Millennials are born in a new era of technology, so why not use it to your full capacity and surpass the barriers of distance. You will not only get information on application processes and campus life but also a lot more information on faculties, program content and course offerings from different credible channels and first hand interactions with admission experts, current and past students.

Based on a survey of 4,800 international degree-seeking applicants WES recent report reveals, 33% of masters’ students from India used social media to seek information on studying abroad and 64% of those who used a mobile device during the U.S College/ university search process visited social media sites managed by a college or university.

1. Follow hashtags: A simple web search for “#studyabroad,” these days, produces results from a variety of social media platforms and not just twitter. Video based and picture based social media platforms are gaining lot more momentum and institutes are up for it. For example, with about 41,000 followers, Boston College runs one of the most popular university Instagram accounts. Institutes these days even have accounts on international social media platforms like Weibo, Renren and QQ in China, for instance University of California, Berkeley with 11,740 followers. At MIT, there’s a student-run Facebook page for accepted students, offering an authentic look into the school for prospective students. Many institutes either have a section or a completely dedicated website which are also mobile friendly and social media accounts for international students, some even use Google translate to convert their content into multiple languages and communicate with them.

2. Facebook office hours: Here’s a new way to gather exclusive information, see if you can use this! Stanford University uses Facebook office hours where videos are posted with the faculty member or a professor talking about their research or that of their department. Fans have a chance to ask questions via comments and the faculty members answers questions either through comments or through another follow up video.

3. Connect with students: is another social network dedicated to college students to share reviews, photos, videos, documents, written and posted by students who actually attend the colleges, which means that you're getting the right perspective of everything. It is a great social network for learning about colleges before applying and for building a great social life for when you actually attend.

4. Listen to and explore with podcasts and live chats: Students who are interested in a college can drop in and chat with admissions officers in live chats to learn more about program content and course offerings. Allegheny College for instance, shares a series of podcasts featuring faculty members and undergraduates that prospective applicants can use, to find what the college has to offer.

5. Get personal with Skype, Google Hangouts and webcasts: Group video chats and webcasts are already there which are offered to a large forum for prospective students to ask questions and share answers with the entire group. But some schools are doing one-on-one video conversations between counselors and students too. Using Google+ Hangouts and Skype, colleges reach out to students by hosting video chats explaining the school, academics, and admissions. At some schools like Case Western Reserve, students sign on to personalized portals and are greeted with news about their preferred course on campus and links to profiles of professors or other students in that field.

6. Get wired via mobile apps: In addition to mobile sites, some schools have taken it a step further and created mobile apps that students can take on the go to explore their schools. For example, Uversity Schools App and its widget Uchat allows prospective students to chat with administrators, current students, or alumni based on common interests, hobbies or majors. If a student wants to learn more about a specific program at a university, Uversity can match them up with a current student who is majoring in that subject.
Don’t miss out on any of these ways to gather as much information as you can and make a well informed decision.
Happy searching!
Megha earned her master’s degree in marketing intelligence from the Graduate School of Business Administration at Fordham University, and a bachelor of science degree in physics honors from Delhi University, India.

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