Duke University saw the most dramatic rise in StudentAdvisor’s annual rankings, moving from 44th in 2012 to fifth in 2013. The school’s One Day at Duke initiative, available for anyone to view on YouTube, caught the attention of colleges and universities nationwide.

The One Day at Duke project combined thousands of pieces of social media content from around the world, showing prospective students what it was like on the Duke campus.

Social media, once considered non-essential in higher education, is now the focus of student and alumni outreach programs and initiatives at elite schools and community colleges alike.

Social media presence matters to students, according to a recent survey.

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, elite or otherwise.

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.

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