The social networking website LinkedIn, which has been connecting professionals and employers for more than a decade, is turning its attention to connecting two new groups: high school students and universities.
LinkedIn is launching University Pages, college-specific pages on the site that feature updates, notable alumni, and statistics about what fields graduates migrate toward. And, beginning in September, LinkedIn is lowering its age requirement to accommodate younger teenagers.
The changes mean high school students can use LinkedIn to find and connect with colleges in the way that professionals use it to find and connect with employers.
“Through my relationships at LinkedIn, I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world,” Christina Allen, LinkedIn’s director of product management, wrote in a blog post. “If harnessed, these insights could provide incredible value for students – helping them explore possible futures and build a support network to help them succeed on campus and beyond.”
There are 200 universities with LinkedIn pages so far, including New York University, University of Michigan, and Indiana University. Thousands of other institutions will gain access to University Pages over the next few weeks, Allen said.
See Page 2 for how LinkedIn’s new policies compare to the social media giant Facebook.
The pages will allow high schoolers to engage with alumni and members of a campus community, search for universities around the world, and get a head start on building an alumni network.
The changes in LinkedIn’s policies and pages come at a time when many teenagers are starting to leave social networking sites like Facebook even as more universities are attempting to reach students through social media than ever before.
For years, Facebook has allowed universities to have a presence on the site by creating a “fan page.”
A recent survey of 2,000 college-bound high school juniors and seniors found that the amount of students using Facebook had fallen 12 percentage points from last year to 67 percent.
Meanwhile, according to a survey of student affairs professionals, seventy-one percent of those working in student affairs use Facebook to connect with students.
By lowering its age requirement, LinkedIn could be positioned to fill the engagement gap created by such discrepancies, granting high school students access to hundreds of universities and nearly 240 million professionals.
When the new policy takes effect on September 12, the age requirement for LinkedIn will be 14 in the United States and even as low as 13 in other countries – the same age requirement as Facebook.
“We believe University Pages will be especially valuable for students making their first, big decision about where to attend college,” Allen said.