Social media presence is becoming a big factor in a student’s choice of where to go to college. In fact, some publications are starting to rank major universities on the strength of their online presence. And with those rankings, high school students are more apt to seek a college that has a great online presence, one that makes the student feel connected over their social media networks.
Best Social Media
StudentAdvisor.com released its top 100 Social Media Colleges listings that found top-tier schools like Harvard, Yale, Duke and Princeton all slotted in the top 10 positions. It was the third year in the last four that Harvard took the top spot.
The editors noted that Princeton’s students and faculty use a wealth of online outlets to create and share blogs, electronic news, social media and webcasts/broadcasts. Likewise, Yale was noted for its increased use on social networks Facebook and Twitter that boosted attendance at the 2013’s class reunions to an all-time high. Duke, meanwhile, leaped into the top 10 after an innovative single-day campaign that saw more than 1,000 videos, photos and messages shared on social media by the Duke student community.
In fact, it’s this renewed emphasis on college-centric social media that led two University of Oregon students to start up a new social media site designed strictly for college students in their own college communities. Hallspot and its two founders are determined to connect students to the platform by helping them learn and explore their own local campus community. As Twitter and Facebook have grown into global adverting juggernaughts, the founders felt it was important to bring to the college community the renewed sense of connections and relationships in a social media network.
Social media brings the students closer together in the community. It’s good practice for students before entering the ‘real world’ as well. The social media insights they gain from being connected on campus are adaptable to their professional careers later on. While they may view Hallspot today, in a few years these graduated students may be seeking new digital marketing strategies via an SEO strategy blog to enhance their careers.
Does having the best social media presence matter greatly to the student and parents? Do school rankings in general matter to the selection of a school? It seems they still hold sway in a student’s decision-making.
A November 2012 studentPoll survey of about 850 high school seniors found that college rankings do indeed influence the choice of a particular college or university. The study found that:
- Nearly two thirds of those surveyed showed that college rankings were taken into account when deciding where to apply.
- School rankings were found to be a higher priority to students who scored highly on the SAT (1300 and over) than students with lower (under 1300) SAT scores.
- About two thirds of those students taking part in the poll agreed or strongly agreed that rankings like the US News and World Report university rankings are very important in determining differences between higher education institutions.
Another factor that attracts students to a particular college or university is access to Wi-Fi. Most schools and classrooms of top-tier colleges are wired for Web access. But in at least one area, Wi-Fi is lacking and it’s starting to becoming an issue for students. The Wall Street Journal writes about declining physical attendance at college football games. It seems that more students prefer the camaraderie and warmer environment of a local tavern with HD TVs to watch the game than a stadium. Another reason found is that older university stadiums are often plagued with poor Wi-Fi access, prohibiting college students from sending tweets, photos and more about the game from their phones.
Social media is fast becoming the way we are connecting. Because of this, college marketing teams need to make sure the school’s online activity is at a high caliber to continue to attract high school talent. College reputations and college rankings ultimately are good indicators of a school’s reputation, and likely will continue to be a factor in influencing students’ decisions to ultimately attend a university.