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How social media is changing college admission

Media and advertising are obviously intertwined. Attention draws marketing schemes. There is value in watching how the PR industry has moved from centralized controlled messages in mainstream media to decentralized messages on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. College and university admissions are also taking note. At University of Manitoba, for example, our PR department is actively involved with:News blogs, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, and other tools. And they subscribe to Google alerts on “University of Manitoba” (which is how they will find out about this post…I was recently interviewed by our student newspaper on Facebook and our handbook of emerging technologies because the editor discovered references on Google Alerts. It does make me wonder about how effectively our organizations are designed to handle and understand information flows when external tools do a better job of connecting people on a campus than internal tools and procedures).

The intent with PR and marketing to connect with prospective students in various forums and various tools. Instead of marketing to 100,000 students at once (mainstream media model) they now focus on connecting to groups of 10-20. How social media is changing college admission (.pdf) demonstrates the significant use of blogs, wikis, social networking services, and other tool by universities/colleges. In most categories use is significantly higher than by Fortune and Inc. 500 companies. The discussion on how admissions departments use social networking and web search (p12) as part of the admissions process is interesting…and something that younger learners need to be aware of. (via Academica Group).

UPDATE: For some reason, the paper has now been moved. Member only access


  1. Jon K. wrote:

    George – the paper is behind a members-only wall. Would’ve been interesting to see the results.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  2. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Jon – thanks for the heads up. I read the paper about 30 min ago…and now it’s locked down.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  3. Adam Green wrote:

    I hope they are doing more than just looking for mentions of the college’s name. Prospective students use Google search as a primary research tool for colleges. They pay special attention to negative comments by those who they consider to be their peers. Your PR department should be actively engaged in “reputation enhancement.” This is a combination of reputation management and search engine optimization. I’ve written up the details here:

    The basic idea is to promote your positive mentions through extensive linking, and use them to drive any negative mentions off the first few pages of Google’s results.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Permalink