Title: The role of social media in college recruiting

Authors: J. Christopher Sandvig

Addresses: Department of Decision Sciences, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9077, USA

Abstract: The growth of online social media creates new opportunities and challenges for recruiting prospective college students. Many college-age individuals are daily users of one or more forms of social media. This creates important new communications channels for student recruiting and retention. Colleges need to understand how students utilise social media and how they can best use it to connect with future and current students. This paper overviews the opportunities and risks that social networks bring to higher education and describes the results of an online survey on social media usage that was sent to 2,844 admitted freshmen admitted to a mid-size US public university. The majority (56%) of survey respondents reported that social media was helpful in making their college decision. Facebook was the most popular social media site, with 89.9% checking it at least weekly. Over three-quarters (76.5%) of the respondents connected to at least one of the university's Facebook groups.

Keywords: social media; college recruiting; higher education; survey; Web 2.0; student recruitment; student retention; USA; United States; universities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2016.074273

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2016 Vol.12 No.1, pp.23 - 34

Received: 28 Aug 2014
Accepted: 22 May 2015

Published online: 15 Jan 2016 *

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