High School Students Use Social Media to Research Colleges

Considering that Facebook started out as a social network exclusively for college students, it’s only appropriate that it’s now being used by prospective students to research colleges.

According to a survey of more than 7,000 high school students by Zinch, which runs a service matching students with schools and scholarships, fully 68% of respondents said they are using social media to research their higher education options. In addition to doing the preliminary research to determine where to apply, 38% of high school students surveyed are also using social media to inform the big decision -- where to enroll.

Colleges would be well-advised to have teams handling social media to interact with prospective students: according to the survey, 66% of the respondents said schools should have a social media presence, and 45% said they were influenced by interactions with the school on social media platforms.

No surprise, high school students are heavy users of social media in general, although the proportions skew heavily towards Facebook, according to Zinch: 75% of respondents said they use Facebook at least once a day and 53% said they use it several times a day, while 56% said they have never used Twitter, and 69% said they have never used Tumblr, Instagram, or Pinterest. Among those students who said they use social media to research colleges, 55% said they used Facebook.

The proportion of students who use social media to research colleges varies by race, Zinch found, with 44% of Asians reporting they use social media to help determine where to enroll, compared to 39% of African-Americans, 41% of Hispanics, and just 31% of whites.

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