Tufts U uses ‘Vibe’ in massive outreach to prospective students

It’s the same with Facebook. We invite any Tufts student to participate on our Facebook page and answer questions about Tufts. When we starting doing this, many schools were still wringing their hands about the potential for unscreened students to create mischief or air grievances in a way that would discourage applicants. Part of what it means to be authentic, however, is being willing to let go of control and allow students to talk to each other as peers without oversight.

Tufts hosts many student blogs on your blogging platform, Jumbo Talk. What is the value of student bloggers and why did Tufts decide to start a student blogging system?

DG: Tufts is aspirational, and we want students to choose us over comparable quality, though better ranked, institutions. For a student to do this, they need to believe that they will be happier at Tufts, that they will be more likely to find friends and that they are more likely to be challenged intellectually with us than with another school. That isn’t about ratios or class sizes or stats; it’s about personality and intellectualism. Our prospective students need to have a deep understanding of the qualitative pieces for us to reach our aspirations, and the blogs are perhaps the best vehicle to develop that. More than any other feature on our website, the blogs are where we get the most positive feedback. More than any other feature, the blogs are where our personality and intellectualism shine.

Do you have any suggestions for applicants who have social media accounts and are interested in Tufts University?

DG: Use Facebook and Twitter to track down current students and to verify the claims that you hear from the admissions office. If a school says that undergraduate research is easy, then use the internet’s tools to find current students who aren’t tour guides and ask them, “is getting involved in research easy?” There’s tremendous potential for applicants to completely sidestep the admissions offices in their search for an educational home – and while I believe there’s a lot of value to connecting with an admissions office, there are now so many unofficial channels available to today’s applicant that did not exist even 5 years ago. Use them.

Can you share Tufts’s next step for your evolving social media strategy? What’s next?

DG: We are in the process now of hiring six first-year students to be our Admissions Communications Board. These students will produce our web content and keep us honest and current in how we present Tufts. We’ll let them, with shaky hands and imperfect editing, produce our YouTube videos and grade our work on Facebook and Twitter. We did this last year for our publications and were consistently impressed with the insight those student brought. They kept us on our toes, and now a new crop will keep us moving forward with web and social media.