College Social Media Recruitment

Admissions and Social Media, University Social Media, College Social Media

College admissions offices are ramping up their use of social media

There are a number of interesting studies on the use of social media by college admissions offices as a means to recruit potential applicants. Two researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson, have found that since 2007, there has been an 84% increase by admissions offices in blogging and a 300% increase in the use of Facebook.

Wrote Ganim Barnes and Mattson in their study, “The first study of the schools and their use of social media revealed that institutions of higher education were outpacing the more traditional Fortune 500 companies as well as the fast-growing Inc. 500 companies in their use of social media to communicate with their customers (i.e., students). For example, at that time, 8% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared with 19% of the Inc. 500 while 32% of colleges and universities were using this tool.

In 2008, in a follow-up on the original study, The Center gathered the data again in order to conduct one of the first statistically significant, longitudinal studies on the usage of social media by college admission offices. That study compared two years of data, 2007 and 2008. Given that a detailed wiki and a longitudinal University of Massachusetts study showed that in 2008, 13% of the Fortune 500 and 39% of the Inc. 500 had a public blog, it was interesting to see that college admission departments continued to lead the organizational pack with blogs at 41% of US colleges and universities.”

The authors go on to write, “500 (22% have a corporate blog) and the fast-growing Inc. 500 (42% have a corporate blog). The latest research shows 51% of colleges and universities have an admissions blog for their school…The results are fascinating and continue to support what the 2007 study documented for the first time: Colleges and universities are using social media to recruit and research prospective students. It is clear that online behavior can have important consequences for young people and that social networking sites can, and will, be utilized by others to make decisions about them.”

Below is a chart from the Ganim Barnes and Mattson study:






See the research on the use of social media by college admissions offices in the recruitment process here.

Read our Newsletter on Using Social Networking Sites to Your Advantage.

Read our blogs on Social Media and College Admissions and Social Networking in College Admission.


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