When the entire city of Boston was on lockdown during the April 19 manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects, institutions such as Boston College and Boston University were posting on Facebook to let admitted students know the status’ of open houses scheduled to occur that weekend.
“Admitted student Open House programming has been cancelled for today and tomorrow, April 19 and 20. Please do not come to campus for these events. We are exploring options for accommodating those of you who want to visit campus before making your enrollment decision,” administrators at BU wrote on the “Boston University Class of 2017” Facebook page.
Thanks to those pages, the institutions had a logical place to get the word out about events during the crisis. Of course, that’s not exactly the motivation behind creating these pages—helping accepted students make a decision is.
Gil Rogers, director of marketing and outreach at Zinch, explains that once students are accepted into a school, they often focus on whether or not they’ll fit in socially. “What students want is to get the inside scoop about campus life [via] Facebook,” he says.
“Facebook groups or pages are a great way to engage with admitted students,” says Suzanne Leung, senior enrollment consultant at Inigral, which partnered with Zinch on the “2013 Social Admissions Report” that surveyed more than 11,000 college-bound high school students.
It appears Facebook and other social networks now have more influence than ever on students’ college choices. The report found that seven out of 10 college prospects use social media when deciding on where to enroll, and a school’s social media presence has at least some influence on a student’s decision 76 percent of the time.
Leung says Inigral has found that putting students in touch with each other on the social medium and allowing them to meet each other or current students before physically meeting on campus also works well to improve engagement. While administrators should take official ownership of these Facebook pages and monitor them to answer questions and provide information, Leung also says the idea is to let students “own” these communities—which means letting the conversation be honest. Learn more at http://inigral.com/research.