Using Social Media to Choose the Right School

We all love social media. We spend time (a lot of time) each day catching up with friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. We share photos, videos, and funny memes. But did you know that you can also use social media to help you pick the perfect college? Today, Jeff Anaya is here from Viralheat with some tips for doing just that.

When looking for a school, there are dozens of considerations when choosing the one best for you. While national rankings, major choice, and locale are all at the top of the list; social life and campus activities should also be topics to consider as the day-to-day can be just as rigorous as the classes. While a list of the top 100 colleges might provide a good look into the average SAT score, it does little to show what people actually say and do at school. For that, you should look to social media to get a closer look at what people are saying about the college. Using popular social networking websites can help you parse out what campus culture and learning environment works for you.

Facebook Groups

While visiting college campuses, you will get a good image of the buildings and school areas; you might even be privy to some of the many social groups you can participate in. But more often than not, there are many things you just won’t be able to witness in your two-day visit. That’s why Facebook Groups are a great window into the college culture at your potential schools. To check it out, just log into Facebook and search for any school, then filter by Group. Here you can see the top groups that are present for that school. It can range from a general discussion group, to humor and meme forums, to meet up groups for various activities. See what is really popular on campus. Searching groups within UC Berkeley yielded a myriad of results from: the ‘Longboard Connection at UC Berkeley’ to the ‘Actors Club of UC Berkeley’, you can find communities for anything and everything you might be interested at your school.


While Facebook Groups is a great way to find niche communities, searching for your school on Twitter is a great way to see public opinion at your potential school. Searching by just the hashtag of your college acronym (like #UCLA or #SDSU) can yield the most newsworthy topics that are being talked about. This gives you a great view into what is popular as well as offers a window into any potential things to look out for on the campus. A really great restaurant might be featured, or a new building might have been constructed. Of course, following the schools Twitter profile is an easy way to find out about the current events happening there as well.

Rate My Professor

If you are more concerned with the classes and the faculty, a great way to know more about the teachers you will interact with is through Rate My Professor. Here you will see all the opinions of former students about that teacher’s teaching style. This includes criteria such as: easiness, helpfulness, clarity, rater interest, and an overall grade. With this resource you can avoid the bad teachers and be prepared for the best grades possible. Be careful though, as lazy students might give bad reviews, so use your best judgment.


For stronger, anecdotal information, you can use LinkedIn to contact current students and alumni. By searching for students who have attended the school and major you are interested in, you can get a first person account of their experiences. This way, you can get specific, directed knowledge before diving right in. It will also provide answers to potential questions you may have. Not only that, but you can peer into your possible future at the school with easy to read stats on where alumni end up working, living, and what fields they get jobs in.

Social media is a very powerful and insightful resource when researching potential schools. Whether you’re looking into programs for graduate or undergraduate studies, take the extra time and look into the schools on social. After all, you’ll be spending tons of your time at this school over the next years so be sure you pick a school that best fits your needs and positions you for success.

Author Bio: Jeff Anaya is part of the marketing team with Viralheat, the social media marketing suite for business. When he’s not talking, writing, or researching about the growing world of social media marketing, you can find him quoting movies from the 90s, podcasting at a pirate radio station in San Francisco’s Mission District, or planning a road trip. You can tweet him at @jeffanaya, add him to your Google+ circle, or email him at [email protected].

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