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Social Media and College Admissions – Two sides

Here’s an interesting report for high schools and colleges…
Report Finds Use of Social Networking Tools on the Rise in College Admission Offices
April 29, 2009 – (Arlington, VA) – 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 (members only) 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.
“We hope that this discussion paper will provide the impetus for additional research and dialogue about important unanswered questions,” noted Smith. Such questions include:
Has the use of social media strategies for recruitment been successful for colleges and what is the cost/benefit relationship? What measures have colleges enacted to improve the cost/benefit of social media strategies?
What ethical or legal issues have colleges using social media encountered and how were these issues resolved?
What, if any, formal policies have colleges established to guide their use of social media in the recruitment and admission process?
About NACAC
NACAC is an Arlington, VA-based education association of more than 11,000 secondary school counselors, independent counselors, college admission and financial aid officers, enrollment managers, and organizations that work with students as they make the transition from high school to postsecondary education. The association, founded in 1937, is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice.”
Media Contact:
David Hawkins
Director of Public Policy and Research
703/299-6809
[email protected]
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So what we have here is some research to show high school students the impact their social networking activities could have on their futures.
The corrollary is that only a bare majority of colleges check out their own reputations on social media sites.
It feels ironic in some ways. I recall reading studies that emphasized a few things that students and parents used to select their college choice. It’s interesting that less than a third use the major social media tools even though “eighty-eight percent of admission offices believed social media were either “somewhat” or “very” important to their future recruitment efforts.”
While the emphasis is often on the dangers to students in their social media presence, I think that it cuts both ways. There are real dangers to the success of colleges and universities in their management, or lack thereof, of their digital presence.
Stephen

Posted on: May 14, 2009, 10:49 am Category: Uncategorized

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