The Chronicle of Higher Education. August 19, 2013. By Lawrence Biemiller. The business-networking behemoth LinkedIn said on Monday morning that it was making a play in global college admissions, unveiling LinkedIn University Pages and welcoming school students as young as 14 as members.
The company said the new pages could help colleges build their brands and recruit students who fit what they offer. It said the pages can also help students choose colleges on the basis of the students’ intended careers and, subsequently, help with job searches. The pages take advantage of career data that LinkedIn has collected from some 240 million members around the world.
The company gave about 200 colleges and universities advance notice to create accounts. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor’s page has an aerial view of the campus, 196,952 followers, and a link to an article about renovated residence halls on the university’s East Quadrangle. Drexel University’s page offers a collage of campus scenes and a link to a USA Today article about two Drexel students who created a mobile app to help other students track down potential scholarships.
Search for an institution that didn’t get the heads-up, and you see a breakdown of information about its alumni who are LinkedIn members, along with a note saying that the institution’s page “isn’t quite ready yet.” Look for California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, for instance, and you get a page saying LinkedIn has connections to 57,916 alumni, the largest group of whom—7,598—work in engineering, while 31,255 live in and around Los Angeles.
A blog post by LinkedIn’s director of product management, Christina Allen, says the idea for LinkedIn University Pages grew out of the struggle that her daughter and her daughter’s friends went through to choose colleges. “Through my relationships at LinkedIn, I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world,” Ms. Allen writes. These insights, she says, “could provide incredible value for students—helping them explore possible futures and build a support network to help them succeed on campus and beyond.”