If you’re beginning to research colleges to advance your education and you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, now might be the time to consider getting one. LinkedIn is kind of like Facebook for the professional adult – it allows you to get in touch and stay connected with people and pages that are of interest to you academically and professionally.
About a year ago, LinkedIn developed University Pages, which allows different schools to set up their own profiles to keep students connected and informed. As a result, LinkedIn has become more valuable than ever to prospective college students. Here are a few wise ways to use it to help you decide which school to attend.
Find out what alumni and former students thought about different schools.
If you visit a school’s website, they’re obviously only going to feature quotes and experiences from happy alumni. On LinkedIn, students have no obligation to sugar coat what they thought about their schools. Visit a school’s page and click on the ‘recommendations’ tab to see what they have to say. You can hear from students that graduated from the program you plan to enroll in to get an idea of what the professors are like and all the pros and cons.
Find out where alumni work.
Maybe you want to find out about a school you’ve never heard of, or you want to see how well graduates of online colleges are doing in the career world. LinkedIn allows you to see lists of the top companies that employ graduates at that school under a tab called “Where they Work.” There’s an accompanying tab titled “What they Do.” This information gives you some insight about what companies are recruiting alumni from certain schools and how successful each degree helps students to be.
Find out the school’s most renowned majors.
Under the “What they Studied” section, you can see which programs alumni enrolled in and get an idea of what majors were most possible. This might be useful for helping you determine what the school’s best programs are and whether they pertain to you. You can browse by major to visit the profiles of specific alumni so you can also connect with your colleagues and see what kinds of careers they’ve gotten into.
See what the school is up to.
Following a University Page on LinkedIn means that all their news will be in your feed, so you can keep tabs on what’s happening on campus. This can help you get an idea of what it will be like to live on campus and what sorts of things you’d like to get involved in.