Once dominated by glossy brochures, college fairs, and campus tours, the college admissions landscape is rapidly shifting toward online social media, as schools blanket the Internet with podcasts, blogs, and videos to recruit wired high school students.
With virtual campus tours, live chats with college students, professors, and admissions officers, and videos about campus life, colleges and universities are increasingly turning to interactive and multimedia technology as recruiting tactics to connect with prospective students who are far more likely to scroll down a Web page than thumb through a college viewbook.
Think of it as College Admissions 2.0, college officials and consultants say.
“Higher ed is really trying to embrace it on all fronts,” said Nora Barnes, director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. “There’s no doubt that’s where their audience is.”
In a study released this fall, UMass-Dartmouth researchers found that colleges are adopting Internet technologies such as podcasts, message boards, blogs, and social networks faster than Fortune 500 companies. The explosion of social media, higher education specialists say, is revolutionizing the college search process and the way colleges and prospective students interact.