Prospective students look at these factors first when determining their college options:
- The school must have a preferred degree program
- It must be a good fit financially
- It sometimes needs to be located within a specific radius
And once the student finds the schools that fit those qualifications, it’s time to narrow down the choices. Other factors such as learning environment and campus life are examined. Because these factors are more opinion-based, they’re ideal for reviews written by undergraduates and alumni.
Give recruits a familiar and solid starting point by making reviews easily available on your social channels. Recruits and their families will appreciate finding the reviews easily and your willingness to share all authentic reviews openly. Learn the five simple ways to generate student reviews – and make them easily accessible – across your social channels:
1. Offer a student review app on Facebook
Installing an app on Facebook provides an easy way for current students and alumni to share their college experiences with your school’s social community. Apps eradicate the need for visitors to sift through dozens of posts and comments in order to gain student perspective. Whether students write about the campus environment, their professors or a degree program, all reviews will be housed in one place, making them easy for recruits to find and read.
2. Craft a custom hashtag for college reviews
Whether it’s a quick comment written directly on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, or a link to a review composed on an external site, encourage your student body to tag their reviews using a custom hashtag (“your school’s name” + “reviews” should do the trick). Promote your hashtag so that prospective students are aware of it and can use it to search for reviews. Clicking on an active hashtag or typing one into the search bar is a far more efficient than scrolling through a mess of social posts!
3. Build out a pin board for sharing student-generated pictures
Many universities have created boards on Pinterest specifically to share student-generated photos, which can act as visual reviews. These pictures are made identifiable by a custom hashtag that students are encouraged to use when posting photos to Twitter and Instagram. You can curate the posts including the hashtag to your school’s pin board, giving prospective students a sense of campus personality and community in one convenient spot.
4. Create a YouTube playlist for student video reviews
According to Fast Company, YouTube reaches more people 18-34 years old than any cable network. While this statistic might not apply to your school’s individual channel, making content easily available to such a large user-base makes sense. Prospective students who are looking for personal reviews might gravitate toward videos, where they can see and hear students. Create a playlist on YouTube specifically for student video reviews so that your audience knows exactly where to go to find what they’re looking for.
5. Recruit current students to write for your blog
If your school has a blog, ask undergraduates to contribute posts about their thoughts on campus life. You can even create a category specifically for student reviews so that they’re archived and easy to find. Students majoring in English, Communications, Journalism or even Business are likely to jump at an opportunity to gain writing experience. Indiana University even chose to start a Freshman Year Blog housed under the Admissions section as a platform for first-year students to share experiences.
After publishing reviews, remember to cross-promote them. A beautiful picture of campus that has been pinned on Pinterest can also be used as an image for a future Facebook post. A video review that aligns with a student blogger’s point of view can be embedded within a post on your blog. The more places reviews are shared, the more likely they are to be seen and to make an impact on student recruitment.
How does your school encourage, curate and share student-based college reviews on your social channels? Share your insights about education social media in the comments below.
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