It’s College Admission Season! Can LinkedIn Give Applicants an Edge?

A recent article from CNet.com’s Technology and Media section has raised the point that applying to college is not merely about only standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and your grades. While some time has probably past since most of us reading this blog have applied to college, the rapid development of technology and social media networks has definitely made a major impact on the way students apply to college today.

A big part of this new trend has been on the part of LinkedIn, who recently lowered their minimum-age requirement to 14, which allows those applying for fall college admissions in this application cycle to take advantage of the professional social networking tool. Engagement on LinkedIn can take place in two ways; by researching potential universities and by creating a profile that can highlight accomplishments that a student would include in a potential college application. While you may seem reasonably skeptical that a high-schooler who has perhaps only worked in an ice cream shop would want to create a professional LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn’s Higher Education developer John Hill says, “it’s totally fine to have work experience that may not relate to what you want to be when you grow up,”. He also urges students to “connect to groups, connect to companies that you’re interested in learning more [about to] make your network a little bit more robust.”

A snapshot from one of LinkedIn’s university pages that a high school student could use to research a particular school:University Pages

My take on the development is that while LinkedIn’s popularity could initially be slow to catch on amongst high school students, it is a great step in the right direction on the part of the organization. I applaud LinkedIn for taking the step to lower their minimum age requirement to 14 and therefore making their technology and social networking platform available to a much wider audience. While we can only speculate how this newly eligible demographic may begin to use LinkedIn, one thing is for sure – they will use it! As evidenced by the popularity of other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, LinkedIn will also likely catch on in a similar fashion.

Another point to be considered is that in an increasingly digital age with heightened college acceptance competition, colleges are beginning to Google search prospective candidates for admission. In light of this knowledge, LinkedIn is a great way for high school students to maintain a positive web presence by showcasing their classes, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, part-time employment, or other marks of responsibility. I also think LinkedIn’s popularity among a younger demographic will provide a new platform of engagement for college staff and administration, especially those working in admissions and recruitment.

Only time will tell exactly how LinkedIn is utilized and received by high school students but I am hopeful that the future class of 2018 will be quick to embrace the resource!

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