Through another blog I came across this published study about college-bound senors and how the internet (in particular social networking sites) affects the application and recruiting process. This particular study focused on Myspace, which really should be replaced by the up-and-coming Facebook now, but its salient points remain valid. Students and young people generally are going to a variety of informational and informal sites across the web to get a better feel for schools and possible job opportunities as well.
I think this should be my new position. Someone pays me to sit online all day and write reviews and other sorts of information for the school in order to help with recruitment. Or I could do the same thing for my job here, just recruiting college seniors for employment instead. It really is a good idea, and most companies and organizations are trying to be more flexible about including this kind of nontraditional information and approach. MIT actually does a really good job with thier website being an accurate reflection of what’s going on with and at the school.
The problem that comes with most admissions attempts to include these new features is the isolation of these offices from the rest of the campus. Current students often provide a good bridge between the actual campus and prospective students, but there needs to be a lot more done by individual departments and professors, especially at large schools. Academia itself should be excited about the prospect of opening their fields to a larger audience. I would like to see blogs or other informal updates going up on school websites across the country about what is going on every day research- and publication- and education-wise at schools. Let’s really get the content out there, rather than waiting for a potential feature article in my alumni magazine. It’s something that I really think MIT is trying to expand through Open Course Ware. While this is not possible for all schools, at least short updates about what’s going on direct from the professor or researcher could be implemented anywhere. I love learning. Why not have more?