Students turn to social media to research colleges

College students are scouring social media to find out about perspective colleges more than ever, though students with the highest SAT scores took a slightly different approach to their Twitter and Facebook research when compared to their peers.

General social media use is down overall among perspective college students.

The education consulting firm Art & Science Group released the results of a study that showed 44 percent of student respondents said they had used some form of social media in their search for a college or university.

That’s more than double than 18 percent of students who used social media in their college research five years ago.

The preferred social media platforms were hardly surprising, with 36 percent of students using Twitter and Facebook, while 13 percent used Google+. A mere 7 percent used YouTube in their school searches.

There was a split, however, in how certain students went about their social media-based school research.

Perspective college students with the highest SAT scores (over 1300) were more likely to examine blogs and notes found on social media sites, while students with SAT scores of less than 1100 didn’t focus on blogs and notes, according to the Art & Science Group study.

The marked increase in social media-based research hardly meant that students made their school decisions after reading a college’s Twitter timeline or perusing its Facebook page.

“… When we asked students to rate the value of different sources of information in their college search process, they gave the highest ratings to ‘the web site of individual colleges or universities,’ followed by ‘a visit to your high school by a college admissions counselor,'” the study said. “Rated significantly lower were the ‘individual college’s profiles or pages on social networking sites.’”

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