Colleges and universities increasingly are using social media, including Facebook, to recruit students.

Colleges and universities increasingly are using social media, including Facebook, to recruit students.

Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly proactive in using social media to reach prospective students, acknowledging that today’s teenagers are very active online.

A Maguire Associates survey of U.S. public and private institutions offering four-year undergraduate degrees found that senior enrollment officers are incorporating the internet into undergraduate recruitment and communication. The survey found that 77 percent of senior enrollment officers have begun to use social networking sites in the face of the economic downturn and continued digital innovation.

Brian Shulman, dean of the School of Health and Medical Sciences at Seton Hall University, said combining social media and public relations efforts has improved the school’s image exponentially in one year.

“The School of Health and Medical Sciences has been advancing the branding and reputation of our graduate education degree programs in the health sciences and post-medical school residency and fellowships programs we offer,” he said. “Our application pool for fall 2010 alone has increased over 55 percent from last year which, in part, is due to efforts focused on media relations and social networking opportunities.”

Using social networking for recruitment is gaining popularity partially because it is sometimes easier to reach people through Facebook than through eMail or by phone, said Stephanie Leidolph, master admissions representative at Bryant and Stratton College Online.

“If I need to remind a prospective student to submit something to complete their application, sometimes it’s hard to get students on the phone, but everyone’s on Facebook,” she said…

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