Tips for Using Social Media in Your College Search
Published on Jun 28, 2023 by Yasmina Achlim
College social media accounts are a great resource to use when deciding which school to attend.
Social media is a fun way to relax and unplug from the real world, but it can also help you make one of the most important decisions of your life thus far: choosing which college to go to.
Each social media platform offers a unique opportunity for colleges to tell their story and connect with current and future students, from TikTok trends to Youtube series. By looking through a college’s social media accounts, you will be able to paint a clear picture of what the school stands for, its values, and what your day-to-day would look like.
Here are some tips to help you use social media in your college search.
TikTok is an excellent platform for exploring how different colleges choose to communicate with their students. You can see what elements of campus life and education each school focuses on, along with the tone and delivery of their information. Do they like to use memes and trends to keep their students updated or are they a little more serious with their delivery?
What’s more, TikTok allows you to see what attending students are up to and how they choose to spend their time on and off campus, from getting ready for football games to late-night study sessions. Hashtags are a great way to discover new content, so dig deep and have fun scrolling through different tags and exploring new campus TikTok trends.
While it’s true that Instagram tends to deliver a filtered view of the world, it also gives users a big-picture view of a school’s ethos and aesthetic.
Try this: Go to a school’s main Instagram account. See what kind of posts occur over and over. Are there patterns? If you’ve got a case of wanderlust or a desire to learn about new cultures, you might be drawn to an account that highlights alumni photos from around the world. If you’re hoping for a vibrant on-campus experience, you may prefer accounts sporting school colors and smiling faces.
Pay close attention to the hashtags the school uses and have a look at their tagged photos, too. These will both let you explore related posts and accounts and provide a more organic representation of the college’s culture and ethos.
Most people go onto YouTube to catch up on their favorite YouTubers, but did you know that many colleges also have YouTube channels where they post vlogs, event footage, podcasts, and more?
Unlike TikTok and Instagram, colleges usually use YouTube for more formal content, making it the perfect platform to tune into interesting discussions with professors, immerse yourself in their live events, and learn about what makes that school special.
If you’re lucky, you might also find vlogs from current students detailing their day-to-day routine, fun social events, and the overall atmosphere and vibe of the college.
Snapchat is designed for temporary content – but that doesn’t mean it can’t make a lasting impression.
The Campus Stories feature on Snapchat’s Snap Map allows you to see real-time snaps posted by students on campus. It’s an accessible way to get insight into what students enjoy in the cafeteria, how they spend their time outside the classroom, and what the overall campus culture is.
Many schools also have their own Snapchat stories, which offer a casual look into campus life.
Interested in a specific school? Want an overview of the kinds of events held on and near campus? Check out the school’s Facebook page. See what people are saying in the comment sections. Check out their photo and video galleries (and be sure to look at tagged photos, too).
But don’t just limit your search to the school’s primary page. Delve into the pages of departments and organizations on campus you might like to join once you’re there. This will help you get a feel for what daily life would be like not for the average student, but for you specifically — an individual with your own unique blend of career goals and creative preferences.
By following a college on Twitter, you can keep updated about events happening on campus. And by actively engaging — whether you’re replying to tweets or participating in hashtag-driven discussions — you can feel out stronger connections with people at the school to see if those interactions seem right for you.
Keep in Mind
Remember that while social media is a great way to supplement your college research, it won’t provide all the details you need. It is, however, a great way to narrow your search or to find out more about a school you’re already interested in.