In 2013 LinkedIn started to take students seriously. Around 12 months previously I was speaking to some sixth form students about how they looked professionally on social media and the importance representing themselves well on LinkedIn.
I was a little bit concerned when one pointed out that he would be breaking LinkedIn’s terms and conditions to set up a profile and so would half of his fellow students who weren’t yet 18.
Thankfully LinkedIn lowered its age limit to 13 in 2013, to encourage young people to use the network in deciding which universities to go to and which careers to consider, as well as presenting themselves to future employers.
LinkedIn introduced University Pages aimed at prospective students in 2013. These pages also provide great insight and information on former students to the rest of us.
The introduction of University Pages meant that universities could now talk to and engage with prospective students using functionality difference to LinkedIn’s usual company pages.
Firstly, prospective students can get a flavour of the type of companies that former students go on to work for and the type of roles they do. There’s also valuable data provided on each university such as the total number of students and the student lecturer ratio, all great information when selecting where to spend your higher education years.
These pages also mean that a university can talk directly to prospective students, providing useful updates and information on their range of courses, expertise and what it’s like to work and study there.
Former students can also write recommendations on the University Page, a bit like a personal recommendation, providing a great way for prospective students to gain valuable third-party insight.
Also if you’re considering a university you could use the comments box below each recommendation to ask former students relevant questions. I’ve only seen this happening occasionally though and hardly any universities are getting involved in the conversation or even simply thanking people for their contributions, surely a missed opportunity?
With prospective students now catered for through University Pages, this frees up the university’s company page to provide content more targeted to academics, stakeholders and the business community.
But can the wider LinkedIn community benefit from University Pages?
Know Your Alumni
As you add contacts to your LinkedIn network it’s often worth using University Pages to check out whether any of your new network connections share academic institutions with you. The “Students & Alumni” section will reveal who in your network are former students of the university.
I’m often surprised to find out who went to the same colleges as me, often only years apart. This can often be a good icebreaker when emailing or meeting new connections for the first time.
LinkedIn Next Generation
I think LinkedIn has started to get its act together with the next generation of colleagues, leaders and entrepreneurs. Are you involved in higher education, or perhaps a prospective student and if so how has LinkedIn helped you?