In a study of several small schools, including Ithaca College and Wichita State University, admissions counselors have found that large trends in applicants’ social media can make a huge difference on an individual basis. According to The Hechinger Report, the point of social media analysis in the admissions process is simple: "to increase graduation rates by using big data to identify the kinds of students who, experience has proven, are most likely to stick around.”
In other words, admissions officers have begun to look at certain traits in applicants that past experience has dictated will be a good fit for their particular school. In many cases, solid social media use is a big plus for these small schools who have a chance to look at each student on an individual basis. By demonstrating good judgment online and strong ties among their peers, students may be making a case for themselves as integral members of the tight-knit communities fostered by a smaller student body.
The process of finding the right college is anything but fool-proof. But schools that are harnessing the power of bulk data analysis are giving their students a bit of an edge by favoring applicants who display themselves well online.
By Erin Matthews