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Social Media in Undergraduate University Admissions Abe Gruber Director of Marketing, Bloomfield College
Author Note This thesis was completed by the author as a M.B.A. student of Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, HI in late 2009. Correspondence regarding this study should be addressed to Abe Gruber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
Abstract This paper explores the impact of social media (social networking, blogs, etc.) on university enrollment and the disconnect that exists between the social media-related expectations of prospective students and the actions of university admission offices. Through the national distribution of two surveys sampling 200 prospective freshman students and 70 admission offices, this study gauges the usage of social media and its impact on enrollment behavior between these two populations. The research presents that social media has a significantly positive influence on applications and enrollment, and Facebook is the most influential among all social media technologies. Additionally, there exists a sizeable disconnect between the expectations of prospective students and how admission offices are utilizing social media with specific respect to admission offices’ underutilization of Facebook and overutilization of Twitter. Looking at the social media preferences of prospective freshmen and current/future usage by admission offices, universities are out of touch with social media and their prospective students.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………... Problem Statement……………………………………………………………….. LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………………………… PAGE 4 7 9
The State of Social Networking………………………………………………….. 9 What is Social Networking?…………………………………………………….. 10 Which Social Network is On Top?...................................................................................12 How Does Social Media Fit into the Recruiting Playbook?..........................................14 How Are Admission Offices Embracing Social Media?...................................................15
18 21 22 24 31 32 33 47 61 67 84 88 88 89 91 92
Research Design………………………………………………………………….. Data Collection Procedures………………………………………………………. Method of Analysis………………………………………………………………. Assumptions and Limitations…………………………………………………….. FINDINGS………………………………………………………………………………... Initial Profiling of Social Media Usage…………………………………………... Impact of Social Media on University Applications & Enrollment……………… Facebook Communications and Interactions……………………………………... Other General Trends…………………………………………………………….. Meanings of Findings…………………………………………………………….. CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………… Summary………………………………………………………………………….. Practical Applications & Recommendations……………………………………... Recommendation for Further Research…………………………………………... WORKS CITED………………………………………………………………………….. APPENDIXES A. PROSPECTIVE STUDENT SURVEY………………………………………………. B. ADMISSION OFFICE SURVEY……………………………………………………. C. PROSPECTIVE STUDENT SURVEY – RAW RESULTS…………………………. D. ADMISSION OFFICE SURVEY – RAW RESULTS……………………………….
97 104 111 123
Admission” Facebook status update and comments (March 22.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 4 Chapter I Introduction Figure 1. 2009)./Social Media in Higher Ed. “Finally starting my thesis on Electronic Comm. .
I'm Writing my Thesis About Facebook. and within a short few hours. one status update and Facebook note receives over 20 direct and meaningful replies from people in three countries. 2009). “So. This is the power of social media.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 5 Figure 2. . and eight states (see Figures 1 & 2). Two quick posts on Facebook. Twitter. and Stuff” comments in response to Facebook note (March 22.
CSS. Unlike email. and fishing pictures were instantly sent around the globe to friends. 2008). The focus shifted to such ideas as participation. it was propagated across the Internet and on to friends’ screens in mere seconds. 2009). a popular micro-blogging site. social media is short and instantaneous letting people share their lives online 24 hours a day. Ahead of Personal Email. messages with recipes. The internet wasn’t just about websites and email anymore. Twitter. For years.0 revolution gave rise to a new ideology of what the internet was all about. design. in 2009.0 revolution led to the birth of social networking and blogging – two trends that truly hit home with people all across the internet. Sending an email became the equivalent of calling a long lost friend once a week. “What are you doing” and limits responses to only 160 characters (Razzell. Now. asks users. and an overall convergence of these technologies within single platforms (O’Reilly. the rise of the internet gave way to the birth of email – a fundamental paradigm shift in the way people connected with each other. 2005). where communicating was semi-frequent and drawn out. As soon as a user submitted their answer. and the messages themselves were essentially comprehensive updates on the happenings of that week. electronic communication standards. However. . email was the status quo for most. seven days a week. memos. if not all. and accessibility. in 2005. and family alike. Social networks and blogs gave users instant access to updates on the happenings in their friends’ lives. With a few clicks of a mouse. the Web 2. Conversations were continued on a semi-frequent basis. usability. social networks have officially surpassed email in global usage and these networks are growing in popularity twice as fast as search engines and web portals (Social Networks & Blogs Now 4th Most Popular Online Activity. The Web 2. AJAX.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 6 In the late 1990’s. For example. coworkers. and web technologies shifted focus to RSS.
but there is one industry in particular that is best suited to adapt to these new mediums – institutions of higher education. “does a university’s use of social media positively impact enrollment”.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 7 In today’s global economy. The study will analyze the role of social media in the realm of higher education admissions and determine which forms of social media are the most effective in building successful and higher yielding relationships between students and institutions of higher education. enrollment. With an accurate understanding of the role these technologies can play throughout the admission process. universities can tailor their recruitment strategies to utilize social media technologies to increase both brand awareness and more importantly. 2009). . many industries are attempting to capitalize on the power of social media. In addition to being a popular social network among current undergraduate students. 2009). As of January 2009. Problem Statement This study attempts to answer the question. As most prospective undergraduate students are fully utilizing social media platforms. there are more than 5 million Facebook users currently in high school – the primary target audience of universities (Facebook. it is highly valuable to university admission departments to have an accurate assessment of how to best connect and communicate with prospective students through these mediums. As social networking has become one of the most popular means of communication among the traditional college-age demographic. universities are beginning to utilize these technologies to communicate with current and prospective students.com Advertising Wizard. 40% of Facebook’s US population were of age 18-24 (Corbett.
. there are two primary areas of inquiry of which this researcher chose to investigate and answer through the means of relevant. the author will be making this study interactive with members of his own social networks. it should be anticipated that universities do not have an adequate grasp on the concept and usage of social media. this researcher believes that there is a natural disconnect between admission offices and prospective students in the social media realm. Therefore. literature and primary research: 1. if any.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 8 As an added component. he will post it to his various social media outlets with the intent of soliciting feedback from others he is connected with (currently over 1. and more importantly current.000 people). disconnect exists between prospective undergraduate students and university admission departments in terms of communicating through social media? Do the expectations of prospective students differ with the actions of universities with respect to communications/interactions via social media during the recruitment process? Often. and universities should not be expected to be on top of social media trends and technologies. Which forms of social media are the most effective in increasing university applications and enrollments? 2. technology is often the last area to receive funding. As the author discovers new articles. When schools have limited money and resources. To assess the impact of social media on university enrollment. What. it is common for universities to be far behind mainstream businesses and organizations when it comes to their level of technology usage – both in the classroom as well as in their recruitment and marketing. information and insight regarding the topic. The author will include valuable feedback where appropriate with the intent of demonstrating the power and impact of social media. With this being said.
they can incorporate successful technologies into their communication plan and adjust their strategy of how to best reach out and recruit students while maintaining and fostering successful relationships with these students. Additionally. from 2007 to 2008. 2009). university admission departments are slowly migrating to these sites with the intent of increasing enrollment – as that is the primary function of the admission department. there also exists a difference in motive of usage. as universities study these mediums and properly ascertain their effectiveness. it benefits university admission departments to strive to better understand these mediums and learn which ones are the most effective in recruiting students. social networking sites (SNS) grew in membership at a rate twice that of e-mail and almost triple of both search sites and general interest portals and communities: .Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 9 In addition to the “experience gap” between the 16-24 age demographic and institutions of higher learning. Whereas 16-24 year olds are on sites like Facebook and YouTube to keep in touch with friends and share their daily lives. With this inherent inexperience with social media and disconnect with their primary audience. Chapter II Literature Review The State of Social Networking In February of 2009. the Nielsen Global Corporation released a new study finding that for the first time in the history of the Internet. Furthermore. the average time spent on social networks exceeded that of e-mail (Nielsen.
but it is also a way to meet new people from around the world (personal communication via Facebook. 22). Shayna Mérçëdês considers these SNSs more than just a way to “articulate a list” of people whom she shares connections with. 2009). however. What is Social Networking? The Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 10 Time spent on social network and blogging sites growing at over [three times] the rate of overall Internet growth. While most SNSs allow users to meet new people that are only connected to their network of friends/connections. In the same period. p. June 3. This increase in popularity is only half [of] the story when it comes to the social networking phenomenon – the time people spend on these networks is also increasing dramatically. the amount of time spent on [social networking sites] rose by 63% to 45 billion minutes. 2008 defines social networking sites as: Web-based services that allow [individuals] to 1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system. and 3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (Salaway & Caruso. However. 2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection. The total amount spent online globally increased by 18% between December 2007 and December 2008. 2008. Bob . surveying individual users of social networking sites revealed varying opinions on this matter. most modern SNSs allow users to search for and contact users beyond their extended network of friends.
Across various definitions of social networking. personal communication via Facebook. June 3. June 3. 2008). 2009). a professor of marketing with over 30 years of consulting experience calls social networking “hanging out 'round the cyber water cooler or on the cyber street corner” (personal communication via Facebook. but it is not far off from reality as a recent study by the University of Georgia found that the number of friends and postings by a person on Facebook was directly correlated to narcissism (Study: Facebook profiles can be used to detect narcissism. and 3) a technology-based infrastructure to foster the relationships between one’s friends. relatives. De Castro’s interpretation may be a bit vivid. and colleagues. . One interviewee took it as far as to define social networking as follows: A vortex of narcissistic self-indulgence using past and present friends.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 11 Sigall. three common themes seem to be apparent: 1) community among one’s current friends and acquaintances. De Castro. exes and acquaintances to validate yourself in an [ever-isolating] digital environment with single serving attention spans comprised of pithy one liners such as this (A. lovers. 2) the ability to reach out and meet new people not currently in their social or professional circle. 2009).
and traffic to the site grew by 10. 2009). While MySpace is the currently the number one social networking site in the United States. Mexico. M. 2009). Stephanie Reitz of Time. all of the negative press has contributed to MySpace being held back from the global expansion Facebook is currently seeing. n. Facebook still leads in the social networking arena with a global online reach of 29. and Greece combined (World Atlas of Travel. it has become known for being a safe-haven of sorts for sexual predators. While MySpace was reacting to the outcry of many MySpace users. Although.com reported that Facebook took a more preventative stance towards protecting younger users of the site including: “banning convicted sex offenders from the site. That is more than the populations of Canada. one in five of all people on the internet visited Facebook. Since MySpace was founded in 2003.d.).d..000 sex offenders (Brunswick.. n. the total time . one in five adults around the world are illiterate (Global Campaign for Education. n.d.9% compared to the 22.). and one in five births in the Indian village of Kodinhi result in twins (Fox News. as of November 2008. Spain. 2009).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 12 Which Social Network is on Top? According to recent statistics. 2009). More interestingly.8% in the next month to a whopping 222 million visitors (Arrington.). it’s said that one in five Americans still believe that it is the sun that revolves around the earth (Steward. and from 2007 to early 2009. MySpace continues to dominate the US market. limiting older users' ability to search online for subscribers under 18 and building a task force seeking ways to better verify users' ages and identities” (2008). Between December of 2007 and December of 2008. It is no surprise that Facebook continues to lead the pack in social networking based open recent news and events.4 % of MySpace (Nielsen. MySpace has removed the profiles of over 90. as well as concerned parents. Australia. M.
Salaway & Caruso. 83% of college students were actively using Facebook. Facebook has naturally become the paramount SNS of the college-age demographic. As the site took off. The Twitter demographic is more geared toward 30-45 who have already graduated from college with no teenagers in their household (Quantcast. and as high as 95 (Arrington.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 13 spent by users on Facebook grew “by a massive 566% – from 3. Ellison.. Facebook built itself around the 16-24 year old demographic of high school and college students. there have been reports of even higher saturations of Facebook among undergraduate student bodies across America at levels of 85%. the next natural progression was to include high school students as well.edu” email address (Arrington. 60% of all new Twitter users quit after just one month – approximately double that of both Facebook and MySpace (Eaton. Today. With respect to Twitter.). and while MySpace was open to virtually anyone of any age.5 billion” (Nielsen. Twitter. n. 2009). Steinfield. . This is largely in part to how Facebook was initially designed for college students only – requiring proof of enrollment via a campus-based “. According to CollegeRecruiter. 2008). 2009).com. 2005. compared to 65% using MySpace and 21% using LinkedIn (Rothberg. has seen their fair of negative attention as profiles of the presidents of the University of Texas and Georgetown were found to have been created by imposters (Young. 2009). as of January 2009. 2005). 94%. too. 2009). n.d. and in recent weeks. & Lampe.1 billion minutes to 20. Studies have also shown that while Twitter is seeing tremendous growth.d. 2009). However. the micro-blogging site has seen tremendous expansion as their growth over the last year is five times more than that of Facebook (Kress.
2008). enrolled students.d. college fairs. Today’s prospective student is “far more likely to scroll down a Web page than thumb through a university view book. 2008).” and for several years now. universities use a variety of recruitment and marketing techniques to advise students and encourage enrollment including: direct mail campaigns. and then they can move along the funnel to become applicants. university admission officers have been relying on the power of the Internet to help make admission decisions for applicants (Schworm. it is estimated that over 25% of prospective students are screened using search engines (My College Guide. As students progress through the admission funnel. telephone calls. Once a high school student directly expresses interest in a university. n. campus visits. While “very few students … [are] actually aware of the academic and professional networking opportunities that the [social networking] sites provide. A Kaplan survey of over 300 admission officers showed that 10% had visited applicant profiles on social networks (Kaplan.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 14 How Does Social Media Fit into the Recruiting Playbook? At the very heart of the university recruiting cycle is the admission funnel where schools attract and receive interest from hundreds to thousands of students for each term and work to matriculate these inquiries through the admission process and into enrolled students (Deutsch. and finally the freshman class of the next semester. With the power of sites like Google and Yahoo! at hand. they become an inquiry. 2009). high school visits. and to add insult to injury. e-mail & website traffic.). As Deutsch reports. 38% of these social network background checks resulted in a negative impact on students’ admission decisions.” universities are becoming . and much more. the admission funnel starts with the pre-funnel: the population of all people who are potential prospective students.
2008). One of the only published studies looking at social media in university admission is a longitudinal study of university admission officials in 2007 and in 2008 by Nora Ganim Barnes. There was also significant usage increases with 48% utilizing video blogging – compared to 19% one year ago. there is much room for improvement. 3). Schools using social media must learn the “rules of engagement” in the online world in order to maximize their effectiveness. However. 2009. . 36% utilizing message boards – formerly 27%. How Are Admission Offices Embracing Social Media? There is evidence of enthusiasm and eagerness to embrace these new communications tools but there is also evidence that these powerful tools are not being utilized to their potential. The study shows a significant increase in usage of social media technologies from 2007 to 2008 and uncovered that over 60% of admission offices are using social networking – double that of the 29% found in 2007 (Barnes & Mattson. higher education is actually outpacing Fortune 500 companies 41% to 39% as far as the number of institutions with public blogs (p. In regards to blogs. while schools are jumping on the social media bandwagon.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 15 more aware than ever and are using more technologies than just search-based websites and scanning through social networking profiles (Science Daily. p. In recent years. PhD and Eric Mattson entitled Social Media and College Admissions: The First Longitudinal Study. university admission offices have begun to utilize social media in their recruitment strategy beyond just researching applicants. and the usage of wikis jumped threefold from 3% to 10% (p. 1). 4).
that schools are making progress. While 55% of those surveyed in 2008 indicated that social media is “very important” for their recruiting strategy. as students engage universities through these new mediums. across the board offensive utilizing Facebook. important deadlines. and online chats – all at the same time (Brownlee & Mays. [social networking] sites provide unique opportunities to present unvarnished views of student life” (Noel-Levitz. the number of schools not using any form of social media dropped from 39% down to 15% clearly indicating that schools are heading in the right direction (Barnes & Mattson. 2009). and even newer to higher education. 2009). respectively. In doing so. they are in search of a more honest viewpoint of the school that they expect from said mediums. 40% and 29% plan to use blogging and social media in the future. Therefore. Noel-Levitz answers part of this by saying that “as prospective students seek to break through marketing messages to get to the ‘real’ experience of attending a university. of those respondents not using social media. 2009). In 2008. On official Facebook Pages. p. Due to social media being very new. and allowing new students to meet up with one another so they have friends before they arrive on campus (McRory. 2007). schools are posting orientation information. many schools are trying to grasp both the needs of their prospective students as well as understand which social media strategies to use. YouTube. Twitter. 4).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 16 That is still not to say. prospective students also get to communicate with current students . Some admission offices are directly contacting students through Facebook and reaching out via friend requests and wall posts (California State University – Northridge. Admission offices around the country (and around the world) are focusing on Facebook to help with recruitment. Some schools are even employing a complete.
By combining this technique with wellthought out metrics. While there has been no direct proof of social networking presenting direct opportunities for enrollment. “when it comes to admissions recruiting. Queijo sums it up best saying that. it’s a lot like sorting the laundry: you have to decide among what to keep. Stamats recommends building a powerful network founded on user-generated content while giving that network an identity of its own (McDonald. 2009). while email and social media are slowly replacing traditional view books and brochures. 2007). However. the only educational study published is the Barnes/Mattson study. “the social networking frontier is a bit like the Wild West for colleges and universities -everyone is trying to figure out how to navigate it” (Kaplan. Jeff Olson. saying that. Executive Director of Research for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. some schools are hesitant to engage social media (Queijo. scholarly research is hard to find these days. 2008). 2009). social networks still add “another layer of context for prospective students and their families” (Noel-Levitz. However. 2009). it is only within the last two years that there has been evidence of social media being used as a recruitment tool in the realm of higher education. what still fits. social media can be leveraged to expand a university’s inquiry pool and improve conversion rates and yield.” As social media is relatively new. After extensive research into the matter. most importantly.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 17 to get a true perspective of the university that they would not be able to get from a view book (My College Guide. what needs cleaning and. 2008). Furthermore. what to toss. When designing a social media strategy for higher education admissions. admits that schools are still searching for the right strategy. Integrating social media becomes even more valid these days as 70% of students expect colleges to have some presence in social networking and 50% of students do not mind being contacted directly through a social network (Reuben. this study does not .
The author hopes to address this directly by surveying prospective students and admission offices directly and uncovering the direct impact of social media upon higher education admissions. suggesting that the students who interact with universities on social media outlets are more likely to enroll. Chapter 3 Methodology As university admission offices around the country continue to search for and cultivate their next incoming class. An initial response from this researcher suggests that the usage of social media in higher education admissions must have some impact. It becomes a natural fit for universities as social media outlets are already a major hub for prospective freshmen. and two. as well as the focus of the primary research question. However. and there are virtually no monetary resources needed to utilize these new mediums. This section follows with two hypotheses: one. social media is slowly being adopted as a key component of their recruitment strategies. However. is whether universities’ usage of social media has an impact on enrollment. that there is a disconnect . the utilization of social media in admissions is so new that universities have not yet had the opportunity to analyze the outcomes or. one of the biggest issues facing admission offices’ use of social media.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 18 investigate the effectiveness of these tools or their impact on yield conversion and enrollment. even if marginal or inconsequential. on enrollment simply by way of being an active component of schools’ recruitment strategies. the impact these technologies have had on enrollment conversion and yield. more specifically.
Research Area #1. Hypothesis: There is a disconnect between the expectations of prospective students and actual actions of admission offices with regards to what kind of interaction that takes place using social networking. Hypothesis: Students who interact with admission offices using social media are more likely to apply and enroll with these universities. Research Area #2. to describe the rationale and method of data analysis. These . but it can best be defined as technology-based “platforms for interaction and networking” (Hopkins. and to conclude with assumptions and limitations. Definitions Social Media. 2008).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 19 between universities and prospective students as to how best to interact with prospective students via social networking. Determine if there is a disconnect between university admission offices and prospective students as to how to best utilize social networking to interact with each other. Social media is a fairly new and general term. to detail the data collection procedure for each survey group. The research involving these two hypotheses was designed to include a definition of important terms as used in this study. Determine if students who interact with university admission offices via social media are more or less likely to enroll at these universities.
is the number of students a university accepts compared to the number that actually enroll (CollegeBasics.com. The term "prospective students" generally includes all persons actively seeking admission for an upcoming term at a college or university. video-sharing. preference will be given to Facebook as there are statistically more prospective freshman students using that network than any other. a disconnect will exist when there is a divide between the expectations of prospective students and the actions of universities with respect to the usage and implementation of specific aspects of social networks including. it is too general for the purposes of this study. and communication of admission decisions and deadlines. 2009). Conversion. and user-generated. public messages. social media will include the following technologies: social networking. online group chat. instant messaging. Prospective Students.) and is a ratio of the number of students in one stage of the funnel compared to another. podcast. this study will only focus on high school seniors inquiring or applying for university admission for the upcoming fall 2009 semester. Because this definition can include people of virtually any age or background. video podcasts. but not limited to private messages. is best known as a prospective student’s movement from stage to stage of the admission funnel (Deutsch.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 20 technologies are quite scalable and allow for interpersonal networking as well as the interpersonal distribution and sharing of media – both new. in an admission sense. and RSS. blogs. message boards. For the purposes of this study. often the most important conversion ratio in university admissions. traditional. n. Disconnect. social bookmarking. . Yield.d. For the purposes of this study. With regards to social networks. Thus. Conversion & Yield.
a popular online survey tool. Both surveys were conducted during July of 2009. The two surveys were first analyzed separately to determine trends and usage with regards social media and then together to investigate the relationship(s) between the two populations. “Admission Office Survey. The two surveys were very similar to one another with respect to usage and expectations of usage of varying forms of social media technologies. the Admission Office Survey also included questions pertaining to the integration of social media into their admission departments/divisions. prospective students and universities. The first group. a positive result from admission offices’ use of social media – does social media help increase enrollment? Conclusions were then drawn as to the success of social media initiatives in . while the Admission Office Survey was delivered in paper format to admission professionals from around the country at an annual conference for enrollment management technology (EMT). The Prospective Student Survey was delivered via email and administered using SurveyMonkey.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 21 Research Design This research project was based on two distinct and independent survey groups. “Prospective Student Survey.com.” took a random sample of 200 high school seniors who have indicated interest in attending a university for the fall 2009 semester to determine if they are more likely to enroll at universities utilizing social networking and what their expectations of these universities using social networking were.” was a random sampling of 70 admission professionals across the United States inquiring as to their usages of social media technologies and its impact on their recruitment. in fact. However. The second data set. Data was analyzed to determine if there was.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 22 recruitment and whether or not a disconnect exists between the expectations of students and the actions of universities. yet thorough. All respondents were pre-qualified as being a graduating high school senior pursuing . This survey method was used due to its ease of distribution and the ability to ensure that the questionnaire was administered the same for all subjects. (3) describing the sampling procedure used to identify prospective respondents in each set. 157 of which fully completed all questions of the survey. separately. 2. A brief. and (4) detailing the survey procedure used to collect data. Data Collection Procedure The data collection procedure consisted of four steps of each of the two survey groups: (1) identifying the data collection method used. Survey group #1 – Prospective Student Survey. (2) characterizing the demographics and of the proposed respondents. their responses to the questions they did answer will be included in the final survey results. questionnaire of social media habits and usage was delivered electronically via a hyperlink within e-mails sent to research participants (see Appendix A). There were 20 respondents in the sample. This four-step data collection procedure was applied to each survey group. Respondents were intended to be graduating high school seniors actively seeking admission into a university for the fall 2009 semester. 1. The two survey groups provided the information to form two data sets to challenge the two aforementioned hypotheses. While the 43 respondents may not have answered all questions. Research participants. as follows. Type of data collection.
This survey was chosen to be identical in nature to that of the Prospective Student Survey for purposes of mutual comparison and relation to the study’s hypotheses. and 18 years of age or older on the day the survey was distributed. Respondents were intended to be staff members of admission-related departments with accurate knowledge of their university’s usage of social media technologies. 200 prospective students responded – an overall response rate of 0. NCAA Division II university in Hawaii. Respondents were identified using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool by this researcher. very similar to that of the Prospective Student group. The survey was administered via a hyperlink embedded in an email that contained a brief overview of this study and basic instructions on how to access the survey. The survey instrument used in this study was a 16-question questionnaire comprised of multiple-choice. was administered in paper format to admission representatives of 70 universities (see Appendix B). . 4. Type of data collection. who is familiar with the research target population. From this email blast. Interview procedure for the Prospective Student Survey. questionnaire of social media habits. a random convenience sample was used as all 20.621 prospective students were emailed the link to the Prospective Student Survey. matrix. 1. Sampling procedure. 3. living in the United States (except Hawai‘i). These prospective students were members of the university’s admission pool and willingly opted in to receive communications from the university.97%. and open-ended questions. A brief. Survey group #2 – Admission Office Survey. Hawaii was excluded from the target group due to a heavy skew in the CRM database. yet thorough. Using the CRM of a private. select-one.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 23 admission for the fall 2009 semester.
Method of Analysis The method of data analysis was divided into four primary sections: 1) an initial profiling of social media usage. Two hundred paper surveys were randomly distributed and instructions were given to the audience detailing how to complete the survey and to ensure that only one person from each school in attendance completed the survey.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 24 2. At the aforementioned conference. 3. There were 70 respondents in the sample. The survey instrument used in this study was an 11-question questionnaire comprised of multiple-choice. 2) the impact of social media on university applications & enrollment. Research participants. This researcher. matrix. this researcher conducted a convenience sample of the session attendees. 70 surveys were completed and returned for an overall response rate of 35%. were first individually analyzed to build a profile of each population to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of . 3) an in depth look at Facebook communications and interactions. who is familiar with recent trends in admissionrelated usage of social media. Sampling procedure. Interview procedure for the Admission Office Survey. the Prospective Student Survey and Admission Office Survey. All respondents were attendees at an annual conference for enrollment management technologies and audience members of a discussion panel on social media usage in university admission. Out of all 200 that were distributed. select-one. 4. collected all respondent data at the EMT conference. and everyone fully completed all questions of the survey. and 4) a study of other general trends found during the study. For sections one through three. questionnaire responses from each survey. and open-ended questions.
. For part two of the data analysis. This was a direct benefit of the intentional similarity between the two surveys. if any. Questions seven through nine were designed to ascertain the impact on these technologies on the students’ decision to apply and attend their university of choice – thus answer if these technologies had a positive impact on their matriculation with their respective schools. This was designed to establish a reasonable set of student expectations to be compared against the actions of university admission offices as established by the Admission Office Survey. prospective students have used or wish to use to interact with universities during their college search. Second. This data was used to establish a profile of the prospective incoming class of 2009 as to which social media technologies were being utilized most in their college search. The first six questions inquired as to all of the social media technologies the students currently used and via which social media technologies. the responses from each group were directly compared to one another to determine if any correlation or dissention exists between the two populations. Question 10 asked which types of communication students wanted from the universities that they expressed interest in via Facebook. Prospective Student Survey. The data was initially sorted using the Survey Monkey online software to prepare initial reports from each individual survey and generate cross-tabulated results where needed.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 25 each group. Excel was used again to compare responses from both surveys where applicable. After the online tool generated basic reports. Microsoft Excel was used for further investigation and evaluation of the responses.
When compared directly against the responses from prospective students. and five were designed to determine which social media technologies were in use (or will soon be in use) by university admission offices and whether or not the content posted on these platforms were specifically targeting inquiries. the two subsets could be analyzed to determine if the trends reported by universities and prospective students are identical in nature. if any took place between prospective students and current university students on Facebook. Admission Office Survey. Questions one. This gave a frame of reference to compare the technologies in use by schools versus those used by prospective students to identify any existence of a disconnect – both of current and future trends. . Thus. question 16 was an open-ended question asking prospective students for any additional thoughts on the use of social media by admission offices. Then. Question six. it was the hope of this researcher to determine if a disconnect truly did exist between these two segments. did this result in some kind of impact on students’ decisions to apply and attend. Question 15 investigated which form of social media was most desirable by students once they matriculated to an enrolled student to determine any potential social media relationship between university admission offices and student life/services offices. Questions three and four were to ascertain the impact on these technologies on freshman applications and enrollments and are modeled exactly after questions seven and nine in the Prospective Student Survey. Finally. two.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 26 Questions 11-14 asked what interactions. a direct reciprocate of question 10 from the Prospective Student Survey asked which types of communication admission offices utilize via Facebook. applicants or both. if any interactions did take place.
A detailed analysis of these responses would reveal the level of involvement social media has within admission departments. 1. whether schools have social media strategies. and 3) uncover any other general trends among the two populations. 2) compare responses regarding Facebook interaction between universities and prospective students to determine if a disconnect exists.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 27 Questions 7-10 inquired as to the place social media has within university admission offices – if any at all. and whether or not schools have the ability to track/measure ROI from social media initiatives. First. This would be . Finally. question 11 is an open-ended question asking respondents for any additional thoughts on the use of social media by admission offices. The null hypothesis purported that both the university outreach via social media had a negative impact on the likelihood of prospective students to apply and enroll. The purpose of collecting responses from both students and admission offices was to 1) compare responses of questions regarding the impact of various social media technologies on university applications and enrollments to establish consistency between the two groups. The null hypothesis for this test – HA0 = The usage of social media by universities has a negative impact on the number of applications and enrollments from prospective freshman students. questions seven & nine in the Prospective Student Survey and questions 3-4 in the Admission Office Survey were analyzed individually then comparatively to establish consistency to determine social media impact on applications enrollment. Impact of social media on applications and enrollment. Analysis of data set integration.
0. then. if the positive influence level of “Social Media A” was 100%. Arbitrary “levels” were established to better characterize the results whether they were found to have either positive or negative influence. was to reject the null hypothesis and to acknowledge its alternate hypothesis (HA1). HA1 = Students who interact with universities using social media are more likely to apply and enroll with these universities.1%-10% indicated “marginal influence”. respectfully. Additionally. i. against their usage by the surveyed population. . 0% indicated “no influence”. there was a need to weigh the positive influence levels of each form of social media against its actual usage among the surveyed population.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 28 represented by majority responses of “negative impact” in both the prospective student and admission office surveys. Thus. The null hypothesis was tested via a general analysis of trends within the Prospective Student and Admission Office Surveys. it would have a much less overall impact to admission offices compared to “Social Media B” that had 80% positive influence – but was used by 50% of students. and anything greater than 10% was considered “significant influence”.1%-3% indicated “insignificant influence”.e. yet only 5% of respondents actually used it. These two benchmarks weigh the positive influence levels of social media upon applications and enrollment. For example. 3. that social media has a positive impact on applications and enrollments from prospective freshman. respectively. the total “negative” responses were subtracted from the “positive” responses (ignoring “no impact” responses) to create a score of impact.. this researcher developed the Applicant Impact Factor (AIF) and Enrollment Impact Factor (EIF). For the analysis. The purpose for testing these two data sets.
Facebook was chosen as the primary focus due its . Disconnect between prospective students and universities.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 29 The formulas for the AIF and EIF are as follows: Application Impact Factor = Positive Influence Level of Social Media on Applications x Usage of Social Media Positive Influence Level of Social Media on Enrollment x Usage of Social Media Enrollment Impact Factor = The AIF and EIF prevented social media technologies with lower usage from overshadowing those that would be proven to have more of an impact on applications and enrollment. and a tertiary analysis of the data investigated any other trends related to the null hypothesis. Question six from the Admission Office Survey and question 10 from the Prospective Student Survey asked respondents about the kinds of interactions preferred by prospective students and performed by admission offices. This secondary null hypothesis purported that universities are utilizing social media outlets in the same methods that are expected by prospective students. As there are many different forms of social media to test this hypothesis. 2. Next. a secondary analysis of the data was conducted to compare the overall results between the prospective student and admission office responses for consistency. The null hypothesis for this test – HB0 = No disconnect exists between the expectations of prospective students and the actual actions of university admission offices via social media.
0. The responses of each answer choice were individually compared among responses from both prospective students and admission staff. that there is a significant difference between what universities are doing via social media and what prospective students what them to do. was to reject the null hypothesis and acknowledge its alternate hypothesis (HB1). 5%-10% indicated “marginal disconnect”. “no disconnect”. an analysis of general trends and correlations was performed utilizing the remaining questionnaire questions. 3. The secondary null hypothesis was tested via the aforementioned survey question presented in both surveys. Arbitrary “levels” were once again created to characterize and identify disconnects between the two populations. Finally.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 30 emergence as the leading social media platform for the prospective freshman demographic. The purpose for testing these two data sets. questions were asked to learn more about the influence of Facebook communications with current students on their decisions to apply and enroll at their school of choice.. Other exploratory research. and anything greater than 10% was considered “significant disconnect”. HB1 = There is a disconnect between the expectations of prospective students and the actual actions of university admission offices with regard to what kinds of interaction take place using social media.1%-5% indicated “insignificant disconnect”. For prospective students. 0% indicated. i. These questions were asked to provide supporting evidence/information for the results of the two hypothesis tests. Admission staff respondents were .e. then. Prospective students were also asked which social media medium they would most like to use to stay in touch with their school as a current student.
3. and the use of social media in other nonadmission-related departments. and as a result. 2. Given the focus identified by the hypotheses and definition of primary terms. Limitations. This research study was conducted in an environment absent of prior work in the specific field of this study’s focus. as of the writing of this study. Furthermore. The school in . 2. Assumptions and Limitations Assumptions. Social media is relatively new in concept. and enrollment of prospective students. Most prospective students have similar levels of access to all of the social media technologies referenced herein. In order to confine this study into a realistic work and to define its parameters sufficiently to argue its merits. the following assumptions were made: 1. there is very limited academic research available. there is virtually no research in the academic arena about the usage of social media in higher education admissions with respect to the attitudes. the following are the limitations as pertaining to this study. of social media.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 31 asked about strategy integration. Most prospective freshman students have similar social media habits and share similar preferences to how they want to interact with universities through social media during their college search. Due to the nature of the CRM database used to deliver survey invitations to prospective students. or lack thereof. behaviors. 1. tracking & ROI. Respondents to the Admission Office Survey have adequate knowledge and understanding of their university’s usage. there are no Hawaii respondents in the Prospective Student Survey.
Initial Profiling of Social Media Usage 2. Facebook Communications and Interactions 4. and 2) is there a disconnect between the expectations of prospective students and the actions of universities in regards to the usage of social media in the recruitment process. While both the prospective student and Admission Office Survey were distributed to a bona fide national audience. Chapter IV Findings The purpose of this study was to determine 1) if students who interact with universities via social media are more or less likely to enroll at these universities. Impact of Social Media on University Applications & Enrollment 3. Other General Trends 5. it is still positioned as a national study. This chapter reports the results and findings of a study on those two points of inquiry and is divided into five primary sections: 1. and no consideration was given to ensure an even geographic distribution of surveys or survey respondents. However. Meanings of Findings . 3. as the study was targeted to residents of the 49 other states.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 32 question had a disproportionate amount of prospective students living in Hawaii. and thus those records were excluded. the surveys were convenience samples.
and instant messaging. and then a comparative analysis will be presented. Social media technologies used. n = 200. by prospective students. MySpace. All 200 respondents answered the question. and blogging rounded out the top . and YouTube was the most used social media technology among prospective students at 81%. Social media technologies used by prospective students. 1. in general. Responses will be analyzed from each population individually. The first question in the Prospective Student Survey asked respondents to identify all of the social media technologies they currently used (see Figure 3). Figure 3. Prospective students. Facebook was a very close second at 79%.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 33 Initial Profiling of Social Media Usage This first section is designed to report on this researcher’s findings from the Prospective Student Survey and the Admission Office Survey as they pertain to the usage of social media technologies.
5%. question two investigated which social media technologies were desired by students as a preferred method to connect/communicate with .5%). In contrast to question one of the Prospective Student Survey which asked which social media technologies were used by prospective students. Twitter (16%). Four prospective students.5%). n = 192. indicated that they did not use any of the social media technologies listed within the question – meaning that 98% of prospective freshman use some form of social media. and Social Bookmarking (3.5%). Figure 4. LinkedIn (4%). and video podcasts (12%). 2% of respondents. RSS (5. 46. audio podcasts (16. Rounding out the bottom four technologies were group chats (8%). and 31%. 2. The only other social media technologies used by more than 10% of prospective students were message boards (19%).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 34 five at 53%. Social media technologies prospective students would like universities to have/use during their college search. respectively. Social media technologies wanted by prospective students for use during their college search.
and MySpace was also underutilized for students’ college search by 29. 59. it is interesting to note that Facebook was the top preferred by students for use in their college search. At 51. Looking more specifically at the difference between question one and two (see Figure 5).7% of prospective students indicated that they want to utilize some form of social media during their college search (compared to 98% total usage shown in Figure 3). group chats. only blogs.7%).9%).3% (see Figure 6a).6%. 91. Furthermore. In total. instant messaging (41.9%). The usage of YouTube for students’ college search was 33% less than their usage in general.9% of prospective students indicated Facebook as the preferred social media technology to connect with universites during the college search (see Figure 4). and group chat sessions (34. . Despite YouTube being the top social media technology used by prospective students. university-hosted blogs was chosen as the secondmost desired social media outlet followed by YouTube (47. Out of 192 respondents. and video podcasts were wanted more for their college search than their personal use. YouTube is the most underdesired technology when it comes to what prospective students use in general versus what they want to use to connect with potential universites. message boards.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 35 universites during their college search.
Social media technologies used in general versus social media technologies that prospective students want to connect with universities during their college search. Figure 6a. Social media technologies used to connect with universities minus those used in general by prospective students (top seven varying results based on Figure 5).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 36 Figure 5. .
Blog interactions among prospective university freshmen. Social media technologies used to connect with universities minus those used in general by prospective students (bottom six varying results based on Figure 5). Figure 7.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 37 Figure 6b. . n = 69 (185 respondents minus 116 that chose “I have not looked at or interacted with a university-hosted blog”).
7% of prospective students who interacted with university blogs read blogs from admission counselors. and 15. Prospective student usage of university-created Facebook Pages. Overall.6% of prospective students who interacted with university-hosted blogs posted a comment. Figure 8.5% overall.3% subscribed to a blog via RSS.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 38 3. . With regards to university hosted blogs.4% of these students reported reading blogs from current students. 75. and 56. and video blogs from current students were second-most popular at 40. a total of 69 respondents. the Prospective Student Survey asked which social media technologies students actually used to interact with universities during their college search for the fall 2009 semester. Of the 179 respondents. have interacted with a university on Facebook (see Figure 8). Next. Prospective student usage of university-hosted blogs. indicated that they had some form of interaction with a university-hosted blog (see Figure 7). 34. Also of worthy note. Question four of the Prospective Student Survey asked how prospective students were interacting with universities on Facebook. Percentage of students using facebook who did or did not interact with a university. n = 149 (179 respondents minus 30 who chose “I don’t use Facebook”). 4. and 4. video blogs were used less than their traditional text counterparts for the three main types surveyed: student. 21.4% of those. 149 indicated that they are general users of Facebook.6%. and admission staff blogs.9% watched video blogs from professors. faculty. 11.
7%).8%) – all on university Facebook Pages.1%). The most popular type of interactions between prospective students and universities on Facebook were centered around university-created Facebook Pages. Type of interactions by prospective students interacting with universities on Facebook. 70. .7% became “fans” of a university during their college search (see Figure 9). and 66.3% of those interacting with universities on Facebook have looked at a universty Facebook Page. Other popular forms of interaction included participating in discussion boards (35.2% browsed photos of a university. browsing videos (32. 89. and posting questions to other current students (29.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 39 Figure 9.
Supported by documentation in Chapter 2. and only 8% of those indicated they have ever interacted with a university on MySpace (see Figure 10). Prospective student usage of university-created MySpace profiles.0%) than MySpace (table 1). Because the total number of prospective students interacting with universities via MySpace was so low. it is clearly apparent that Facebook is the dominant social network of choice for prospective students during their college search. Comparing university interaction by prospective students on Facebook versus Myspace. this data confirms that Facebook is more likely to be used for prospective students’ college search than MySpace. In performing a direct comparison of these interaction rates. Percentage of prospective students on MySpace that have/have not interacted with universties. it was deemed by this researcher unnecessary to further breakdown the types of interactions as was done with Facebook in the previous section. In a direct comparison of the two social networks.4% vs 8. Figure 10.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 40 5. 6. Facebook is utilized during the college search seven times more (56. . 88 survey respondents indicated they use MySpace.
Facebook. and Myspace).5%).5%). Figure 11.6% via MySpace 8. . Question six of the Prospective Student Survey inquired what other forms of social media interactions prospective students had with universities. participating in university-hosted group chat sessions (14.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Table 1 Prospective student interaction rates – Facebook vs. Other social media interactions.4% 43. n = 92.0% 7. and asking questions on university message boards (11.0% 92. MySpace 41 Interacted with a University Did Not Interact with a University via Facebook 56. Other university-based social media interactions (besides blogs. the top three responses were reading postings on university message boards (22. As shown in Figure 11.5%).
1%) and instant messaging (32. In comparison to question one of the Admission Office Survey. question five investigated which forms of social media would be adopted within the next 6-12 months. RSS was used by 28. Social Media Technologies used by admission offices. 1.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 42 Admission offices. 85. This data would provide readers with an idea of the “future” of social media usage in admission offices as well as provide . and both YouTube (37. Social media technologies used by admission offices. group chat sessions. n = 70. by far. 47 admission offices indicated that Facebook was. Social media technologies to be implemented within the next 6-12 months. The second-most popular social media technologies were blogs. Looking at other notable social media technologies.9%) were not far behind.1% (see Figure 12). Figure 12. Overall.3% of students. 2.7% of admission offices currently use social media.6% and MySpace was by 14. the most popular social media technology for reaching out to prospective students at a usage rate of 67. and Twitter – all at 40%. From all 70 respondents to the Admission Office Survey.
Other popular forms of social media scheduled for implementation included blogs from admission staff members (27.7% and 17. blogs from faculty (21. n = 69.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 43 a foundation of comparative analysis for later in this chapter.4%. and Facebook Pages and profiles (21. Figure 13. Twitter was determined to be the most up-and-coming social media technology as 34. respectively).5%). .5% of university admission offices are planning to implement some form of social media within the next 6-12 months (see Figure 14).8% of admission offices indicated they were planning to start using Twitter within the next 6-12 months (see Figure 13).1%).2%).7%). blogs from current students (23. RSS feeds (26. It should also be noted that 85. Social media technologies to be implemented by admission offices in the next 6-12 months.
Percentage of admission offices planning to implement some form of social media in the next 6-12 months. admission offices.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 44 Figure 14. Social media technologies wanted by prospective students during their college search versus social media used by admission offices. . Figure 15. n = 69. Prospective students vs.
After initial profiles of both the prospective student and admission office populations were established. this researcher was able to construct a visual comparison between the social media technologies wanted by prospective students for their college search and those currently in use . Amount of social media usage by admission offices minus the percentage wanted by prospective students broken down by social media type (top seven varying results).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 45 Figure 16a. Figure 16b. Amount of social media usage by admission offices minus the percentage wanted by prospective students broken down by social media type (bottom six varying results).
4.1% of students who indicated an interest in using the micro-blogging site during their college search (a disconnect of 24. and message boards (see Figure 16a). The most significant disconnect exists with admission offices’ usage of Twitter.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 46 by university admission offices (see Figure 15). . 40% of universities are utilizing Twitter compared to 15.6%). At a disconnect of 24.8) were also utilized significantly less than student expectations. these disconnects exist in situations where admission offices are both over and underperforming against the preferences of prospective students. At first glance.6% of admission offices vs. Overall. four other forms of social media were shown to have a significant disconnect between prospective students and admission offices. of the 13 social media technologies referenced in the survey question. video podcasts (11. and YouTube (10. however.2% wanted by students). these four were underutilized by admission offices based on the preferences of the prospective student population. six technologies (46. more than any other form of social media. message boards were found to be the most absent from the social media arsenal of admission offices.4%).2%. Furthermore.2%) showed a significant disconnect (variance of 10% or more) between the social media technologies used by admission offices and those preferred by prospective students during their college search. Blogs (11.9%).4% (28. one can easily notice a significant disconnect between the forms of social media used by admission offices and those desired by college-seeking students. The secondmost overused social media technology is RSS at 24. Currently. In addition 10 social media technologies showed marginal (5-10%) or significant disconnect between the two populations (see Figure 17). Following the overutilized Twitter and RSS. RSS.
results from the two surveys will be presented as they pertain to the impact of social media technologies on both the applicant stage as well as the enrollment stage of the admission funnel. Dispursement of disconnect based on level of variance between social media technologies offered by admission offices and those desired by prospective students during their college search. .2% variance for message boards = disconnect of 24. This division was created in response to the varying nature of the two stages within the admission funnel and should provide insight on any difference of effectiveness of social media has at the applicant and enrollment stages.g.2%).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 47 Figure 17. Impact of Social Media on University Applications & Enrollment In this section. Disconnect is measured by the absolute value of the variance (e. -24.
to ensure the integrety of this study and its results. Respondents were asked to indicate the influence of each social media technology as having either “a positive influence”. Prospective student response.7% 42.3% 57. Question seven of the Prospective Student Survey asked which forms of social media used by the university(ies) they applied had in impact on their overall decision to apply.3% 35. However.1% 66.6% Negative Influence 0. the “positive influence” and “deciding factors” choices were treated as one response for “positive influence”.5% 57.4% 16.4% No Impact 11. “no impact”. only responses from respondents who actually indicated use of the various social media technologies in questions as indicated in questions three through six were reported in this section.0% 0.9% 84. “a negative influence” or if the form of social media was “the deciding factor in [their] decision to apply”. because the SurveyMonkey technology had limited technical options.9% 33.7% 64. Table 2 Impact of social media technologies on prospective students’ decision to apply (unweighted) Social Media Technology* University podcasts IM with admission counselors A university MySpace profile University group chat sessions A university Twitter feed University message boards A university Facebook Page University blogs on their website n 9 13 6 27 6 42 73 47 Positive Influence 88.5% 42.0% 0.1% 15. all respondents were able to answer question seven.0% 0.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 48 Impact on university applications.0% 0.0% 1.0% 0. . Also.0% 0.0% 0.6% 83.7% 25. Since respondents were only able to chose one option for each social media technology listed.3% 74.
to accurately judge the impact of these social media technologies on application levels.7% Usage 42.1% 84. Positive Influence times Usage = Application Impact Factor Social Media Technology* A university Facebook Page University blogs on their website University message boards University group chat sessions IM with admission counselors University podcasts A university MySpace profile A university Twitter feed Positive Influence 57.180 0. Table 3 Impact of social media technologies on prospective students’ decision to apply (weighted).6% and MySpace profiles at 83.9% followed by instant messaging with admission counselors at 84.3% 74.245 0.6% 88.5% 28.062 0.5% 34.9% 83.0% 4.3% 66.020 To calculate the Application Impact Factor (AIF).0% 14.107 0.4% 64. The most appropriate way to account for both the influence and the usage together is to weight both against each other to derive a true level of impact on applications – the “Application Impact Factor”.5% 7.033 0. the level of positive influence was multiplied by the percent of usage derived from Prospective Student Survey questions three . “University podcasts” (which includes both video and audio) had the highest impact on student applications at a positive influence level of 88.0% 3.3%.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 49 Table 2 highlights that all eight social media technologies surveyed in question seven had a positive impact of 57. Table 2 on its own only presents the influence level without any regard for how many students are actually utilizing the various forms of social media.5% 7.4% or higher on students’ decision to apply.198 0. it is necessary to weight the influence of each technology against its usage by prospective students.0% Application Impact Factor 0.063 0.5% 57. Thus.
there were zero responses that any form of social media had a negative impact on prospective students’ decisions to apply to a university. Similar to question seven of the Prospective Student Survey. That plus the high rates of positive impact denote to this researcher that social media does indeed have a positive impact on applications. Ultimately.03).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 50 through six (see Table 3). message boards (AIF = .18). 2.1) on applications. “somewhat positive influence”. th . question three of the Admission Office Survey asked the impact of various social media technologies on application numbers. and “do not use”. Admission office respondents were given answer choices “very positive influence”. Following Facebook. “somewhat negative influence”. Admission office response.001 – 3%/. and MySpace were found to have only a marginal impact (AIF between 3. and positive and negative influence was ascertained by adding the “very positive/negative” and “somewhat positive/negative” responses. Instant messaging. Facebook was determined to have the highest impact on students’ decision to apply with an AIF of 0. It should also be noted that out of all survey respondents.245. Respondents were only able to select one choice for each type of social media. and group chat sessions (AIF = 0.198).107) were also found to have a significant impact on students’ likelihood to apply to a university (“significant impact” indicated by AIF of 0.1/10% or greater).1%/0. blogs (AIF = 0. “no data available”. and Twitter was the only social media found to have an insignificant impact (0.031 and 10%/0.1%/0. “very negative influence”. podcasts (both audio and video). This contrasts greatly with the initial reporting of influence in Table 2 where Facebook was ranked 7 most influential and demonstrates that influence of a specific form of social media is irrelevant if it is not widely used among prospective students. “no impact”.
0% 0.0% 0.0% 54.0% 10.0% 0.0% 50.0% 0.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Table 4 51 Impact of social media technologies on freshman applications (unweighted) as reported by admission offices.7% 100. separate results were identified for the cumulative results of Facebook (pages & profiles) and blogs (student. and staff blogs).3% 0. only the respondents who indicated positive.0% 45.5% 50.Video Blogging – Student blogs Group Chat Sessions YouTube Twitter Instant Messaging Facebook Profiles Blogging – Admission staff blogs Facebook Pages RSS MySpace Social Bookmarking Blogging – Faculty blogs LinkedIn Blogs .5% 25.7% No Impact 0.0% 0.0% 0. .9% 76.0% 13.5% 24.0% 23.7% 0.0% 16.5% 75.0% 0.0% 0. or no influence were recognized – thus excluding those who did not use the respective social media or had no data to answer the question.0% 0.0% 25.0% 0.0% 23.4% 20.7% 84. negative.0% 33. faculty.5% 75. Additionally.3% 50.0% 76.all (Student/Faculty/Admission Staff) Facebook (Pages & Profiles) n 5 2 10 15 13 10 13 17 4 20 11 6 4 3 1 17 37 Positive Influence 100.0% 75. For each form of social media.0% 0.1% 23.0% 0.0% 0.6% 80.3% 0.0% 86.0% 0. out of all 70 respondents there were none that had data on their usage of message boards.0% 76.0% 100.0% 90.0% 15. and thus message boards was ommitted Social Media Technology Podcasting – Audio Podcasting .0% Table 4 shows the influence of various social media technologies as reported by respondents to the Admission Office Survey.0% 66.3% Negative Influence 0.5% 33.
320 0.1% 40. as seen with the prospective student population.9% 8.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 52 Out of all social media technologies surveyed.097 0.347 0.306 .100 0.156 0.415 0.9% 67.0% 12.7% positive influence on applications.1% 32.5% 86.6% 14.0% 100.5% Usage 62.7% 76. there was barely any negative influence from social media on applications except in isolated responses about MySpace and group chat sessions. both audio and video podcasting were shown to have a positive influence level of 100%.253 0.3% 10.0% 76. Also.314 0.0% 75.472 0.3% 50.0% 37.6% 2.0% 0.0% Application Impact Factor 0.0% 33.0% 50.0% 75.321 0.043 0.7% 40.9% 54. while student blogs and group chat sessions were determined to have a 90% and 86. respectively.6% 76. Positive Influence x Usage = Application Impact Factor Social Media Technology Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Group Chat Sessions Blogging – Student blogs Twitter YouTube Instant Messaging RSS Podcasting – Audio Podcasting .Video Blogging – Admission staff blogs MySpace Blogging – Faculty blogs Social Bookmarking LinkedIn Facebook (Pages & Profiles) Blogs – All (Student/Faculty/Admission Staff) Positive Influence 75.3% 12.9% 28.5% 100.043 0.9% 14.3% 40.508 0.143 0.0% 35.072 0. Table 5 Impact of social media technologies on prospective students’ decision to apply (weighted) as reported by admission offices.7% 90.000 0.0% 84.0% 80.9% 54.
1% to . After the Application Impact Factor (AIF) was calculated and analyzed for the prospective student and admission office populations.415) – a cumulative AIF for Facebook of 0.321). 3. Comparison of prospective student and admission office responses. and Twitter (AIF = 0. The ranking of message boards for the admission office population was excluded as none of the respondents to Admission Office Survey had any data on its effectiveness. and only LinkedIn was shown to have no impact (AIF = 0) on freshman applications. as reported by admission offices. Rounding out the top five most impacting social media technologies were group chat sessions (AIF = 0. . due to the failry high variance in AIF scores.031/3.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 53 However.32). In total. are Facebook Pages (AIF = 0. This ranking was established. it was necessary to weight the positive influence levels against each social media’s own usage to determine its AIF. a ranking of social media technologies was established using the AIF values in ascending order (where one was assigned to the social media with the highest AIF). Table 5 reports that the two forms of social media with the highest impact on freshman applications.1/10%).6%) had a significant impact (AIF = 0. student blogs (0. and the level of positive influence was multiplied by the percent of usage (see Table 5).1/10% or greater) on applications.508. 10 out of the 15 social media technologies in question (66.472) and Facebook profiles (AIF = 0. as opposed to a direct comparison of AIF numbers. four had a marginal impact (AIF = 0.347). This was done in the same manner as with the results from question seven of the Prospective Student Survey.
In most cases.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Table 6 Application Impact Factor. compared between prospective students and admission offices by rank 54 Social Media Technology Blogs Facebook Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging Message Boards MySpace Podcasts Twitter Student AIF Rank Admission Office AIF Rank 2 4 1 1 4 2 5 5 3 7 7 6 6 8 3 The AIF ranking comparison. . This could signify a serious disconnect between admission offices and prospective students. shown in Table 6. However. the ranks for each form of social media only differed by two positions or they were identical to each other. indicates that the order of AIF scores among the two populations are fairly consistent with one another. it was the third-most impacting social media as reported by admission offices – a difference of five rank positions between the two poulations. Twitter was ranked lowest in AIF from the prospective student data. thus confirming the relative validity of the responses from prospective students and admission offices. yet. or it could be possible that admission offices have incorrect data tracking with respect to Twitter.
0% 73.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 55 Impact on university enrollment. to ensure the integrety of this study and its results. Since respondents were only able to chose one option for each social media technology listed. Table 7 Impact of social media technologies on prospective students’ decision to enroll (unweighted) Social Media Technology* A university MySpace profile IM with admission counselors University podcasts University group chat sessions University message boards University blogs on their website A university Facebook Page A university Twitter feed n 4 10 8 19 31 40 69 6 Positive Influence 100. “a negative influence” or if the form of social media was “the deciding factor in [their] decision to apply”.0% 0.0% 26. Prospective student response. the “positive influence” and “deciding factors” choices were treated as one response for “positive influence”.0% 0.0% 47.1% 55.0% 0.3% No Difference 0.2% 33.0% 52.0% 0.8% 66.0% 20.0% 80.0% 0.0% 75.0% 1. Respondents were asked to indicate the influence of each social media technology as having either “a positive influence”.7% 58.7% Negative Influence 0.3% 41. Again.0% 0. only responses from respondents who actually indicated use of the various social media technologies in questions as indicated in questions three through six were reported in this section. .0% 25. “no impact”. Question nine of the Prospective Student Survey asked which forms of social media used by the universities they applied had an impact on their overall decision to enroll (as opposed to their decision to apply in question seven).0% 0.9% 45.
Table 8 Impact of social media technologies on prospective students’ decision to enroll (weighted).010 However.5% 28. Identical to the Application Impact Factor (AIF).0% Enrollment Impact Factor 0.163 0.0% 58. and group chat sessions (0. After Facebook.0% 14.107 0.107) were all found to have a significant impact (EIF = 0.222) among surveyed social media technologies (see Table 8).5% 34.7%).3% Usage 42. reigns supreme with the highest EIF (0.0% 100. once again.1% 73. and message boards (58.163).5% 7. respectively.5% 7. MySpace – 4% usage). the Enrollment Impact Factor (EIF) tells a much different story.1%). Instant messaging.2% 55. once the positive influence responses are weighted against each social media’s usage. the EIF is calculated by multiplying positive influence and usage. This. Positive Influence times Usage = Enrollment Impact Factor Social Media Technology A university Facebook Page University blogs on their website University message boards University group chat sessions IM with admission counselors University podcasts A university MySpace profile A university Twitter feed Positive Influence 52.040 0.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 56 Table 7 identifies MySpace and instant messaging to be the most influencial on prospective students’ decision to enroll at levels of 100% and 80%. Facebook.060 0.0% 4. and MySpace were found to have . in turn. Other top influencers included podcasts (75%).0% 3.222 0. message boards (0.0% 75.19).190 0.g. group chat sessions (73. blogs (EIF = 0.1/10% or greater).7% 80. podcasts (both audio and video). cancels out the disproportion created from influence responses of underutilized forms of social media (e.053 0.0% 33.
0% 0. Table 9 Influence of social media technologies on freshman enrollment (unweighted) as reported by admission offices Social Media Technology Podcasting .9% Negative Impact 0.3% 72.1% 25.0% 0.0% 75.1%/o.9% 75.0% 22.0% 23.7% 14.3% 15.001 – 3%/.0% 25.0% 0.3% 14.0% 50.0% 92.0% 0.3% 85.0% 0.0% 73. and Twitter was the only social media found to have an insignificant impact (0.0% 50.0% .0% 76.8% 100.0% 0.3% 50.7% 0.0% 0.1% No Impact 0.4% 25.0% 50.0% 0.0% 0.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 57 only a marginal impact (EIF between 3.0% 77.0% 25.7% 50.0% 25.0% 75.7% 85.0% 26.0% 0.0% 0.0% 25.9% 74.0% 0.7% 76.1) on enrollment.2% 0.0% 7.7% 27.031 and 10%/0.1%/0.03).0% 7.0% 0.Video Instant Messaging Blogging – Student blogs Twitter Group Chat Sessions Blogging – Admission staff blogs Facebook Profiles Facebook Pages YouTube Blogging – Faculty blogs Podcasting – Audio MySpace Social Bookmarking RSS LinkedIn Blogs Total Facebook Total # with Data 1 13 7 7 13 4 12 15 11 2 2 4 4 9 1 13 27 Positive Influence 100.
“somewhat negative influence”.000 0.270 0.0% 50.6% 2. .Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Table 10 58 Admission office respondents: Impact of social media technologies on prospective students’ decision to apply (weighted). Positive Influence x Usage = Application Impact Factor Social Media Technology Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Twitter Group Chat Sessions Blogging – Student blogs Instant Messaging YouTube Podcasting .036 0.072 0.0% 35.All Blogs .343 0.9% 85. “no data available”. “very negative influence”.9% 67.0% 85. “no impact”.064 0.1% Usage 62. Admission office response.3% 75.296 2. and “do not use”.0% 12.3% 72.3% 40.100 0.2% 25. question four of the Admission Office Survey asked the impact of various social media technologies on freshman enrollment.065 0.7% 100.0% 22.9% 74.9% 28.All Positive Influence 73.461 0.1% 40.9% 37.0% 0. Admission office respondents were given answer choices “very positive influence”.Video Blogging – Admission staff blogs Podcasting – Audio Blogging – Faculty blogs RSS MySpace Social Bookmarking LinkedIn Facebook .9% 54.306 0.0% 40. and positive and negative influence was ascertained by adding the “very positive/negative” and “somewhat positive/negative” responses.097 0.516 0.1% 10.6% 14.7% 76.0% 25.022 0.7% 92.0% 76. Respondents were only able to select one choice for each type of social media. Similar to question nine of the Prospective Student Survey.9% 14.0% Enrollment Impact Factor 0.0% 75. “somewhat positive influence”.7% 32.3% 12.3% 8.0% 50.304 0.308 0.407 0.
For each form of social media. group chat sessions and audio podcasting. as reported by admission offices. video podcasting and instant messaging were shown to have a positive influence level of 100% and 92. five had a marginal impact (AIF = 0. Additionally. and staff blogs).407). a ranking of social media technologies was established using the EIF values .3%) were shown to have a significant impact (AIF = 0. Comparison of prospective student and admission office responses.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 59 Table 9 shows the influence of various social media technologies as reported by respondents to the Admission Office Survey. or no influence were recognized – thus excluding those who did not use the respective social media or had no data to answer the question.1/10%).1% to .3% respectively (see Table 9). Upon calculating the Enrollment Impact Factor in Table 10. Rounding out the top four was student blogs and Twitter – both with positive influence levels of 85.031/3. are Facebook Pages (AIF = 0.343).461) and Facebook profiles (AIF = 0. the two forms of social media with the highest impact on freshman applications. Also. separate results were identified for the cumulative results of Facebook (pages & profiles) and blogs (student. Rounding out the top five most impacting social media technologies were Twitter (0. as seen with the prospective student population.7%. In total. group chat sessions (AIF = 0. 8 out of the 15 social media technologies in question (53. there was barely any negative influence from social media on applications except in isolated reports around MySpace. only the respondents who indicated positive.1/10% or greater) on applications. After the Enrollment Impact Factor (EIF) was calculated and analyzed for the prospective student and admission office populations.306). and only LinkedIn was shown to have no impact (AIF = 0) on freshman applications. faculty. negative. Out of all social media technologies surveyed. and student blogs (0. 3.308).
yet.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 60 in ascending order (where one was assigned to the social media with the highest EIF). it was the second-most impacting social media as reported by admission offices – a difference of six rank positions between the two. Twitter was ranked lowest again in EIF from the prospective student data. Table 11 Enrollment Impact Factor compared between prospective students and admission offices by rank Social Media Technology Blogs Facebook Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging Message Boards MySpace Podcasts Twitter Student EIF Rank 2 1 4 5 3 7 6 8 Admission Office EIF Rank 5 1 3 4 7 6 2 The EIF ranking comparison. However. The ranking of message boards for the admission office population was excluded as none of the respondents to Admission Office Survey had any data on its effectiveness. as opposed to a direct comparison of EIF numbers. due to the high variance in EIF scores. . the ranks for each form of social media only differed by two or three positions or they were identical to each other. In most cases. shown in Table 11. indicates that the order of EIF scores among the two populations are fairly consistent with one another. This ranking was established. thus confirming again the relative validity of the responses from prospective students and admission offices.
Question 10 of the Prospective Student Survey asked respondents to chose which kinds of communications and interactions they wanted to have with universities during their college search. This section analyzes the the types of interactions between the two populations with respect to what prospective students want versus what universities actually do on Facebook. 1. None of the above. a division was made between private and public forms of communication. The answer choices are as follows: Adding admission counselors as friends Invitations to admission events Posts on wall about how to apply for admission Private messages about how to apply for admission Posts on wall about missing docs/completing your application Private messages about missing docs/completing your application Posts on your wall about being accepted Private messages about being accepted None of the above. and I do not want a university to contact me directly through Facebook for anything.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 61 Facebook Communications and Interactions As documented in Chapter 2 and proven throughout this chapter. What prospective students want. but I want to be contacted only if I contact an admission counselor first. Where appropriate. Facebook is one of the prime forms of social media for interactions and communications between universities and prospective students. .
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
The most popular option was receiving invitations to admission events, which was preferred by 65.1% of respondents (see Figure 18). The next three most popular response were all private messages (PM): PM about missing documents/completing the application (53.9%), PM acceptance notices (41.4%), and PMs telling students houw to apply to a university (38.2%). Also of interest, 30.3% of respondents indicated that they would want admission counselors to add them as a friend.
Figure 18. Types of Facebook communications and interactions wanted by prospective students. n = 152.
After analyzing the results of question 10, it was clear that there was also an overwhelming trend of students preferring private communications to public communications (see Figure 19). In the three instances where a type of communication was split into private and public, prospective students chose the private option two to five times more than public messages (see Table 12). This indicates a clear message from prospective students saying that they do indeed
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
want colleges to communicate with them on Facebook, but they strongly prefer private communications.
Figure 19. Preference of prospective students to receive private messages versus public messages on Facebook.
Table 13 Difference between private and public message preferences of students on Facebook
Type of Communication Info on How to Apply Missing Docs & Completing the Application Acceptance Notices
Wall Posts (Public) 11.8% 11.2% 23.0%
FB Message (Private) 38.2% 53.9% 41.4%
Difference +323.7% +481.3% +180.0%
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
2. What universities do. Question four of the Admission Office Survey asked respondents to chose which kinds of communications and interactions their university had with prospective students. The answer choices were identical to that of question 10 of the Prospective Student survey: Admission counselors adding prospective students as friends Invitations to admission events Posts on wall about how to apply for admission Private messages about how to apply for admission Posts on wall about missing docs/completing the application Private messages about missing docs/completing the applications Posts on wall about being accepted Private messages about being accepted None of the above, but our admission office will contact a student if they
initiate contact first. None of the above, and our admission office has no direct contact with
students on Facebook.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 65 Figure 20. n = 59. there is only one major interaction – inviting students to admission events (54.2%).6%. Looking at what communications and interactions universities have with prospective students in Figure 20. At 18. admission counselors adding prospective students as friends and private messages to students on how to apply are tied for second. Types of Facebook communications and interactions done by universities. . but there are no other major interactions initiated by admission offices via Facebook.
what universities do. . Percent of interactions by universites minus percent of interactions wanted by prospective students. Figure 22. Facebook communications & interactions – what prospective students want vs.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 66 Figure 21.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 67 3. it is clear that there are significant disconnects between prospective students and admission offices with respect to which types of communications and interactions are preferred by prospective students (see Figure 21).2% of universities are doing so – an overwhelming difference of 43.7%. The second and third-most differing responses were about acceptance notifications with a 36. while only 10.3% difference/disconnect for private accept notices and 21. six of the eight forms of communication/interaction (75%) showed a significant disconnect (10% or higher) between admission offices and students. the biggest disconnect was the amount of private messages about missing documents and completing students’ applications. as shown in Figure 22. and three of this chapter focused directly on the primary hypotheses of this study. After subtracting the expectations of prospective students from the actions of univerties. Looking at a direct comparison of answers from both population. 53.8% or more). all but one of the eight forms of communications/interactions showed definite differences between the two populations (7.9% of prospective students indicated they wanted private messages regarding how to complete their application. there remained a wealth of data from the rest of this study. Other General Trends While parts one. The general findings presented in this section consist of two parts: 1) responses of additional questions within the two surveys and 2) salient observations from this researcher. two. In all.3% for public ones. According to respondents. These additional offerings are intended . Comparison of admission office and prospective student responses.
n = 152 . Figure 23. If students incated “Yes.” they were presented a follow-up question asking about the impact of “reaching out to a current university student” on their decision to apply and enroll.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 68 to suppliment the findings presented earlier in this chapter and provide further insight into the survey populations and their responses. Additional survey responses – prospective students’ intercations with current students via Facebook. In effect. Questions 11-14 of the Prospective Student Survey asked respondents if they had direct contact with current students prior to applying and enrolling at a university. Percent of prospective students who have reached out to a current university student on Facebook before applying to that university. the following findings will help readers understand “why” prospective students and admission offices responded as they did.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 69 Figure 24. 152 prospective students answered question 11 and 60 respondents (39. Impact of communicating with a current student on decision to apply (prior to applying) . The 60 respondents were then presented with question 12 which ascertained the impact of communicating with a current student on their decision to apply to that university. 45 respondents (75%) reported that it had a positive impact on their decision to apply.” One respondent (1.5%) indicated they had communicated with a current university student before deciding to apply (see Figure 23). and only two prospective students (3.33%) indicated a negative impact (see Figure 24). . and “It had a negative impact on my decision to apply. “It had a positive influence on my decision to apply”. Prospective students were given four options: “This was the deciding factor in my decision to apply”. “It had no impact on my decision to apply”.67%) indicated their communication with a current student was the deciding factor. n = 60 (only those who responded “Yes” to question 11). 12 students (20%) indicated no impact.
Impact of communicating with a current student on decision to attend (after applying. .Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 70 Figure 25. Figure 26. n = 153. but before deciding to attend) . n = 49 (only those who responded “Yes” to question 13). Percent of prospective students that reached out to a current university student to get their opinion about that university after applying. but before deciding to attend.
5% of respondents indicated that talking to current students through Facebook had a positive impact on their decision to attend. The 49 respondents were then presented with question 14 gauging the impact of communicating with a current student on their decision to attend to that university.3%) reported that it had a positive impact on their decision to apply. 33 respondents (67. and usage of data capture technologies. . “It had no impact on my decision to attend”.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 71 153 prospective students answered question 13 and 49 respondents (32%) indicated they had communicated with a current university student after applying but before deciding to attend (see Figure 25). it can be concluded that. only two prospective students (4. and “It had a negative impact on my decision to attend. Questions 8-10 of the Admission Office Survey intended to gain insight about how social media used within the enrollment management function of universites.2%) indicated their communication with a current student was the deciding factor in their decision to enroll. Additional survey responses – admission office management of social media usage. five respondents (10.4%) indicated no impact. and again. Like question 12.” This time. These questions investigate social media strategy. in total. When considering “deciding factor” as an alternate response for “positive impact”. prospective students were given four options: “This was the deciding factor in my decision to attend”. 9 students (18.1%) indicated a negative impact (see Figure 26). 77. “It had a positive influence on my decision to attend”. recruitment goals.
3% did not (see Figure 27). etc. is there a goal number of inquiries.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 72 Figure 27. Question seven asked if admission offices “have a strategy regarding the usage of social media technologies in the recruiting process.” Out of the 60 admission offices that use social media.e. 13 (21. . Figure 28. “Does your admission office have any specific recruitment goals with respect to social media? (i. that should come from social media initiatives?)” n = 60.7%) had a social media strategy. while an overwhelming 78. applicants. “Does your admission office have a strategy regarding the usage of social media technologies in the recruiting process?” n = 70.
. Virtually all admission offices.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 73 Question nine asked admission offices if they had any specific recruitment goals tied to their social media efforts. Question 10 asked if admission offices had any data capture technologies allowing them to track students that enter their admission funnel from social media initiatives.3%) had specific recruitment goals for their usage of social media (see Figure 28). Figure 29. responded “No”. “Does your admission office use any data capture technologies that allow you to track and quantify the number of students entering your admission funnel from your social media initiatives? (i. 96. are you able to track the students that come directly from social media sources like Facebook?)” n = 60. Only 10 respondents (16.3%) were not (see Figure 29).7%) were able to track and quantify students from social media sources.7%.e. and only two (3. and the other 50 admission offices (83.
However. prospective students were asked which form of social media they would most like to use once they become a student. those wanted by prospective students to keep in touch with their university when they become a student. The assumption of this research was that if there was a demand from students that exceeded what was being offered by universities. . Figure 30. Social media technologies used by non-admission university offices vs. Taking a brief look beyond admission. and admission offices were asked which forms of social media were in use by other non-admission departments at their university to communicate to current students. with a slight excpetion of admission staff blogs.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 74 Additional survey reponses – social media usage outside of the admission office. there were no social media technologies with heavier demand than what universities were already offering (see Figure 30). This would determine any potential social media relationship between university admission offices and student life/services offices. the usage of those forms social media by admission offices could serve as a bridge to connecting with current students.
. it was found that 17. Percentage of social media technologies used by admission offices with respect to the content offered targeting inquiries. or both.8% of the social media implementations had content/communications targeting both inquiries and applicants. applicants. Figure 31. Among the 60 admission offices utilizing social media. and asked if admission offices were posting content/communications on various social media sites that targeted inquiries. applicants. Question two of the Admission Office Survey was exploratory in nature. While 82.2% of admission-based social media is targeted towards inquiry-specific and applicant-specific populations (see Figure 31). or both.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 75 Additional survey reponses – customization of social media content for inquiry-specific and applicant-specific populations. there was a total of 285 unique implementations of social media (averaging almost five types of social media used by each school using social media).
User-generated content. . 2.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 76 Other Trends & Patterns Observed by the Researcher 1. it was discovered that 15. 6. Do prospective students know which university they will attend in fall of 2009? As a qualifier for question nine of the Prospective Student Survey.4% indicated “no”. During the analysis of question one of the Prospective Student Survey.5% of prospective students write their own blogs and 12% create and upload videos to YouTube (see Figure 32). question eight asked prospective students if they knew which college they would be attending in fall of 2009 (only respondents that answered “Yes” were allowed to answer question nine). 88. and 5. Figure 32. Percentage of prospective students creating user-generated content.5% responded that they knew.1% said they were no longer planning on attending college that fall (see Figure 33).
5%).1%). These numbers represent which social media technologies were the most influential in prospective students’ decisions to apply and enroll (see Table 12).1%) and message boards (7. Following IM was group chat sessions (8. group chat sessions (4.8%.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 77 Figure 33.5%). 3. The most deciding forms of social media at the applicant level were MySpace (5. Social media as a deciding factor for applying and enrolling. instant messaging (IM) was indicated as the most deciding social media technology at 8. At the enrollment level. Table 12 presents the total “deciding factor” responses from questions seven and nine in the Prospective Student Survey. and message boards/podcasts (4. .6%). Percentage of prospective students that knew which college they were attending for the fall 2009 semester as of the date they completed the Prospective Student Survey.
seven of the eight social media technologies were more “deciding” when it came time for students to enroll.0% 5.1% 8.4% 4.8% -25. enrollment Social Media Technology as a Deciding Factor A university Facebook Page A university MySpace profile University blogs on their website Instant messaging with admission counselors University message boards University group chat sessions University podcasts/video podcasts A university Twitter feed Applications 4.3% 4.1% 44. it should be noted that the top three deciding forms of social media at the enrollment stage was IM. group chat sessions. Furthermore. and message boards – all social media formats centered around person-to-person communication. As a result.7% 6.5% 4. .5% 2.6% 4. Thus. has a more decisive impact on students at the enrollment phase of the admission funnel.5% 3.6% 51.6% Enrollment 6. as a whole.1% 37.2% 8.3% 3. it can be concluded that social media. Admission offices’ current social media usage plus future anticipated use.3% 4.App 40.4% 14. Furthermore. 4.6% 4.3% Looking at the difference between deciding factors at the applicant and enrollment level. respectively. blogs and Twitter initiatives will be in use by 85% and 75% of colleges. Looking at the combined current and future usage of social media in Figure 34 (and assuming that university admission offices follow through with their plans). personal social media interactions between admission counselors and prospective students are more effective at converting applicants to enrolled students. it is projected that by July of 2010.2% Enr .6% 14.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 78 Table 12 Social media as a deciding factor for applications vs.5% 45.8% 7. approximately 95% of university admission offices across the country will have a presence on Facebook (see Figure 35).
out of the 10 universities that indicated no current use of social media in question one of the Admission Office Survey. This means that by July of 2010.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 79 Figure 34. 8 of them (80%) are planning to implement some form of social media in the next 6-12 months (see Figure 35). (LinkedIn = 2 current + 2 future) Even more remarkable. 97% of admission offices will be utilizing social media. Current number of admission offices using social media plus future use. .
Breakdown of universities’ current and future usage of social media. .Figure 35.
70% 22. Cumulative representation of current and future usage of social media in admission offices broken down by type of social media.Video Podcasting – Audio Social Bookmarking Message Boards LinkedIn 44 28 38 25 20 26 28 23 9 9 10 7 10 6 5 2 15 24 12 19 18 12 8 4 16 15 8 9 5 9 5 2 59 52 50 44 38 38 36 27 25 24 18 16 15 15 10 4 84.30% 54. * = denotes # of admission offices 80 Social Media Technology Current Usage* Future Usage* (6‐12 months) total total % Facebook Pages Twitter Facebook Profiles Blogging – Student blogs RSS YouTube Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging Blogging – Faculty blogs Blogging – Admission staff blogs MySpace Podcasting .30% 74.90% 21.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Table 13 Raw data of admission offices’ usage of social media (current & future).60% 35.30% 25.70% Figure 36.30% 5.90% 54.40% 38.40% 62.40% 14. (Facebook = pages + profiles & blogs = student/faculty/adm staff) .40% 21.30% 71.70% 34.30% 51.
” “I do not agree with using social media such as [Facebook]. but putting certain messages up should be kept private. email or phone only.” “I think it’s a great thing to be more connected with students. like if I've been accepted.” “I think that using [social media] is fine.” “It makes me feel comfortable towards applying to the schools who keep in touch with me. Facebook. [MySpace] etc. I'd be afraid my privacy would be eclipsed in lieu of staying informed. to contact students.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 81 5) Other thoughts on social media for prospective students’ college search. “do you have any comments or thoughts about universities using social media (e.g.” help. and having alerts and other helpful information from my university on my Facebook will lead me to pay more attention and progress as well as remembering things.” “…‘posting to my wall’ as one of the questions suggested. etc. YouTube. Prospective student responses. would be too much.) to connect with prospective students like you?” “I log onto my [Facebook Page] at least twice a day. I think contact between a student and the university should be done through regular mail. I doubt all my friends want to see that ‘X University’ has told me to apply in this way. The following are notable prospective student responses to question 16 of the Prospective Student Survey. The thought of the admission office telling students they are accepted to a university via [Facebook] is completely ridiculous. giving me confidence towards them being interested in me. I wouldn't mind getting good news. because I would want “[Social media makes] it easier to get answers about schools and talking to counselors for .
not so much the student's social life. Also. I personally still value the traditional methods of the college search/experience important. colleges need to know their boundaries with their students and respect their students’ privacy. Basically. getting rejected on Facebook would probably be humiliating. only private messages) and should probably include an option to not communicate by social networking should the student desire. It was nice to get on that particular school's Facebook page and look at the pictures that students had posted from events they had attended. but not to excessive amounts. but other things people don't really need to see. While I personally think that is a positive and a necessity for the future.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 82 to share that. Facebook pages help out a little more when you want to know if this could be a place that you could fit in well. it provides a very clear and honest picture. it would be only under the condition that all of said contact is through private means only (i.” . For most cases in my experience.e. Very few times has it ever been deceiving. “For me.” “I think that it is great that universities/colleges are using social networking sites to reach their students.” “I find universities that use social media to be very personable. So. School websites just helped more with the facts and figures. I would encourage it in small amounts. so keep that to private messaging as well. which is an attractive character in a university.” “While I wouldn't mind (and would actually enjoy) a university contacting me via Facebook or social networking. no wall posts. Facebook helped more when I was wondering what a school's social life was like. Universities should continue using social media. Not to say that the school websites didn't help me.
” “For us. There is an attitude that if it's not broken. Many social media initiatives have been started by individuals outside admissions .even though it's completely broken.” “I realize the importance of social media well "adding" the use of social media but it's difficult to find the time .billboards. The following are notable admission office responses to question 11 of the Admission Office Survey. “do you have any other thoughts or comments regarding the usage or results of social media in university admissions?” “[Our] use of social media should be about pulling together our online presence rather than jumping on trendy bandwagons. which may put us at risk of putting resources into something that results in very little return (e. it is very new – [we] must feel our way for awhile.” .our library has a [Facebook Page] .” “How do you balance counselor responsibility w/also now social media management?” “Our institution has not revised marketing plans to incorporate social networking. They are oddly resistant to use internet marketing.but admissions does not have their own.” Admission office responses. even if we can provide metrics and results.” “[Our] concern is keeping content fresh. focus groups have shown that our prospective students are not yet using twitter so at the moment. etc. mailings.g. Administration is determined to waste money on marketing we cannot track .our office only has 2 people (one part time). don't fix it . this is not an appropriate place to be).Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 83 • “I have come to use Facebook solely for all of my college stuff.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
Meanings of Findings
The findings in this study have been organized around the expectations of prospective students and the actions of universities with respect to social media usage as well as the impact of social media on freshman enrollment. The meanings of those findings have been divided into three parts for discussion: social media usage, social media’s impact on enrollment, and the disconnect existing between the expectations of prospective students and admission offices.
1. Social media usage. With social media being used by 98% of prospective students (see Figure 3) and 85.7% of admission offices (see Figure 12), it is the ideal tool for university admission departments. While YouTube is the most used social media by prospective students (81%), Facebook is the social media of choice (see Figure 4) during their college search and is the most popular social media used by universities (67.1%).
Given that Facebook was initially created for college students, it makes sense to this researcher that Facebook would be the primary social media of one’s college search. As previous studies have shown high concentrations of undergraduate college students on Facebook (80% and higher), it is a natural setting for prospective students to learn more about universities.
Through Facebook, prospective students have the ability to browse university photos and videos, participate in discussions, and become more allegiant to universities via the “become-afan” feature – all while seeing a more personal and student-oriented side of universities not often found in official websites or marketing materials. Thus, Facebook is seen in such a positive light during the college search and universities with pages and relevant/fun content appear to be much more earnest and forthcoming than schools
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relying solely upon their traditional marketing mix. This is a positive sign for universities as Facebook is the most utilized social media among admission offices. Additionally, with Facebook’s dominance across the internet, universities are more accessible than on other forms of social media, and whereas MySpace used to be the king of social media, it has been dethroned and decapitated by Facebook. According to the study, both MySpace and Twitter had extremely low rates of interaction by prospective students at 8% and 3%, respectively. While these two social networks still have popular name recognition, their role in prospective students’ college search is barely present. However, Twitter is heavily used among admission offices (40%) – a difference of almost 25% more than what prospective students want during their college search. Twitter was found in the study to be the most discrepant of all social media technologies between the two populations with regard for both applications and enrollment. It is this researcher’s opinion that this “Twitter Anomaly” is a result of a generation gap between higher education professionals and the prospective freshman audience. Literature has shown Twitter to be prevalently used by adults, and the micro-blogging site has become a staple at higher education conferences across the country. Thus, Twitter is more familiar and well received to admission offices than Facebook is, and admission professionals are receiving the false impression that Twitter is where they should be, when, as proven by this study, Twitter is one of the least utilized forms of social media amid prospective students. Also, a recent study by The Harris Poll indicated that 69 percent of adults do not even know what Twitter is (Ostrow, 2009). This is an area of great concern for this researcher, since by July of 2010, Twitter is expected to be in use by 74.3% of universities (see Figure 35) yet only 15.1% of prospective students actually want to use Twitter for their college search.
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2. Social media’s impact on enrollment. This study determined that social media, as a whole, had a positive impact on prospective students’ decisions to apply and enroll at universities. Positive influence levels of social media technologies (for prospective students using them) were generally higher than 50% (as reported by both prospective students and admission offices). By utilizing the Application Impact Factor (AIF) and Enrollment Impact Factor (EIF), it was found that Facebook had the biggest impact on both applications and enrollment, and blogs and group chats were also identified as having a significant impact consistently among responses from both populations. While there was no data from admission offices regarding the impact of message boards, prospective student responses indicated it as having significant impact, as well. Furthermore, there were zero responses from prospective students throughout the survey that any form of social media had a negative influence on their decisions to apply or enroll at universities, and there were only six total reports of negative influence by universities. Thus, this study affirmed the primary hypothesis - Students who interact with universities using social media are more likely to apply and enroll with these universities. Despite all of the positive results of social media’s impact on enrollment, this researcher came upon the “Twitter Anomaly” once more. When comparing the rankings of impact of the various forms of social media on applications (see Table 7) and enrollment (see Table 12), Twitter was found to be the third and second-most influential as reported by admission offices. However, the student AIF and EIF rankings both showed Twitter to have the least impact on their decision to apply and enroll. Because of prior explanations of the “Twitter Anomaly”, this researcher does not believe Twitter to have a significant impact on applications or enrollment.
the presence of these significant disconnects emphatically rejects the secondary null hypothesis – No disconnect exists between the expectations of prospective students and the actual actions of universities via social media. the aforementioned “Twitter Anomaly” should also be considered a significant disconnect between the two populations as it has been prominent throughout the entire study. Additionally. admission professionals shouldn’t be expected to be completely “in touch” with . the study shows much higher disconnect – up to 43. The comparison of social media usage by admission offices versus social media technologies desired by prospective students during their college search (figure 16a) shows significant disconnect as high as 24. First. The disconnect between the expectations of prospective students and actions of admission offices.2% of all social media technologies surveyed also showed a significant disconnect of 10% or higher. as the gap between prospective freshman and admission professionals is usually a decade at least.9% (Twitter). Looking at the comparison of what kinds of specific interactions students want on Facebook versus which types of interactions universities initiate (see Figure 22). This clearly demonstrates that admission offices are not in tune with which forms of social media prospective students want them to use. As a whole. the generation gap between the two populations is apparent as social media did not even exist a decade ago. This researcher believes there to be two primary causes for this disconnect.7% between the two populations with regard to sending private messages about missing documents and completing the application. six of the eight forms of communication/interaction (75%) showed a significant disconnect (10% or higher) between admission offices and students. Evidence of disconnect between the prospective student and admission office populations is heavily prevalent throughout this study. and 46.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 87 3. So. In all.
it is natural for them to assume that Twitter is a major form of social media for prospective students – when. Second. When they go to conferences. as that kind of information would be apparent in a proper strategy formulation. it is not. Most admission offices do not even know what they want out of social media. the fact that nearly 80% of admission offices don’t have a strategy for social media (see Figure 27) indicates the lack of attention to the subject. Chapter V Conclusion Summary The findings presented by this study are a solid affirmation of the initial assertion that social media does indeed have a positive impact on freshman enrollment and is a tool that should by highly regarded and embraced by university admission departments. In essence. admission offices are out of touch with social media and the related expectations of prospective students. and all they hear is “Twitter! Twitter!”. admission offices do not have the research on what their prospective students want and expect. Without a social media strategy (or the formulation of one). With barely any negative side effects. in reality.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 88 the social media trends and technologies of today. Additionally. so how can they be expected to know what prospective students want out of them. social media has been documented to have a positive influence on applications and enrollment well above 50% in most cases. as Facebook was found to be the social media technology with the highest influence as determined by the Application Impact Factor and .
notifications about missing documents. As social media (as a whole) was found to have such a positive impact on enrollment. Then. would opt-in to receive direct communications from that profile with regards to admission events. If admission offices understand their prospective students. admission offices should take these results as reason enough to devote the resources needed to take full advantage of its potential. At the same time.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 89 Enrollment Impact Factor. upon inquiry. With an overwhelming amount of students indicating the desire to receive admission-related communications via Facebook. they can potentially avoid traps like the “Twitter Anomaly” and encourage meaningful and successful relationships among prospective students. it could serve admission offices to create a virtual “Facebook Concierge. and prospective students. With such a high disconnect found between the expectations of prospective students and the actions of admission offices. Practical Applications & Recommendations The following are practical applications and recommendations for admission offices based upon this study’s findings.” Here. mechanisms should be put in place to respect these expectations. students could choose if they wanted private or . Creation of a “Facebook Concierge”. and any other kind of communication students would request. the implementation of social media within a university’s recruitment strategy should respect the desires and expectations of prospective students. admission offices would create an official “University of XXXX Admissions Concierge” account on Facebook. admission offices should embrace Facebook as their primary form of social media when recruiting their next freshman class.
Then.3% of admission offices don’t have an official strategy for their usage of social media. based on responses. admission offices can create clear and concise strategies for their usage of social media.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 90 public messages about their application status. As this study has revealed significant disconnects between what students want via social media and what admission offices do. If more effort was devoted to social media in an official capacity. Since 78. it is evident that not enough time and attention is being devoted to social media as a recruitment tool. it is common to find situations where there is only one or two people in an entire admission office working with Facebook and blogs. . As admission offices report that it is “difficult to find the time” for social media. it would serve the best interests of admission offices to conduct routine surveys of their inquiry pool to identify what is expected of them on social media outlets. and they could do a much better job of actually incorporating social media into their recruitment plans and objectives. Social media surveys. Formulation of a social media strategy. and Facebook could become an admission portal for universities looking for an easy and accessible way to connect with their prospective students. admission offices would become more aware of their own disconnects.
there are two areas of future research that would appropriately compliment this study – advanced enrollment tracking and Twitter’s true impact on freshman enrollment. The presence of the “Twitter Anomaly” presents a conundrum for this researcher. This kind of study would survey prospective students and look directly at whether or not they withdraw or enroll while presenting quantitative evidence of students’ enrollment behavior based upon which forms of social media they found to be influential. further research in this area could provide the necessary proof to dissolve the “anomaly” once and for all. While this study directly looks at the influence of social media on applications and enrollment. While it is more likely that the discrepancy of Twitter’s true impact on enrollment between admission offices and prospective students is due to a generation gap. It is certainly plausible (while still highly unlikely) that Twitter could have a positive impact on freshman enrollment. for each survey respondent. Therefore.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 91 Recommendation for Further Research In light of these findings. it would be known exactly how they matriculated through the admission funnel. Advanced research of freshman application and enrollment data. this cannot be stated for sure. . and a more advanced statistical study could be performed. it would serve the university admission sector better if a future study was able to look directly at actual enrollment data from universities. The “Twitter Anomaly”.
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Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 97 Appendix A Prospective Student Survey .
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During this survey. you will not be asked to provide any personal information. You will not need any materials to complete this survey ‐ just your knowledge of social media usage in your admission office. please contact Abe Gruber at agruber@hpu. Question 1 Please check which of the following technologies your university’s admission department/division currently use to reach out/communicate with prospective students: Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Profiles Instant Messaging Message Boards Podcasting – Audio RSS Twitter None of These Blogging –Admissions staff blogs Facebook Pages Group Chat Sessions LinkedIn MySpace Podcasting ‐ Video Social Bookmarking YouTube . The survey is only 11 questions and should take approximately 5‐7 minutes to complete. and your answers will be completely confidential. If you would like more information regarding this study or would like to request a copy of the final paper.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 104 Appendix B Admission Office Survey Aloha ‐ Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. Thanks for your time and participation in this study. This study is researching the usage of social media technologies within the area of higher education admissions.edu.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Question 2 105 Considering your admission department’s usage of the following technologies. is the content posted on these social media platforms more geared towards inquiries or applicants? (Please select only one per row) Inquiries Only Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Admissions staff blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging LinkedIn Message Boards MySpace Podcasting – Audio Podcasting ‐ Video RSS Social Bookmarking Twitter YouTube Applicants Only Both Inquiries & Applicants Do Not Use .
staff blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging LinkedIn Message Boards MySpace Podcasting – Audio Podcasting ‐ Video RSS Social Bookmarking Twitter YouTube Somewhat Positive No Difference Somewhat Negative Very Negative No Data to Answer Do Not Use . (Please select only one per row) Very Positive Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Adm.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Question 3 106 Please rate the impact of the following technologies on the number of freshman applications you have received for the fall 2009 semester.
(Please select only one per row) Very Positive Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Adm. staff blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging LinkedIn Message Boards MySpace Podcasting – Audio Podcasting ‐ Video RSS Social Bookmarking Twitter YouTube Somewhat Positive No Difference Somewhat Negative Very Negative No Data to Answer Do Not Use .Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Question 4 107 Please rate the impact of the following technologies on the number of freshman enrollments you have received for the fall 2009 semester.
None of the above. etc) Posts on prospective students’ wall about how to apply for admission Private messages to prospective students about how to apply for admission Posts on prospective students’ wall about missing documents/completing their application Private messages to prospective students about missing documents/completing their application Posts on prospective students’ wall about being accepted to the university Private messages to prospective students about being accepted to a university None of the above. but admissions staff members will respond to prospective students if they are messaged first. please indicate which types of communication your admission office uses to reach out directly to prospective students? (please select all that apply) Admissions counselors add prospective students as a friend Invite prospective students to upcoming admissions events (open houses. and no admissions staff members have any direct contact with students on Facebook.Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Question 5 108 Please check which of the following technologies your university’s admission department/division does not use but plans to start using it in the next 6‐12 months: Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Profiles Instant Messaging Message Boards Podcasting – Audio RSS Twitter None of These Blogging –Admissions staff blogs Facebook Pages Group Chat Sessions LinkedIn MySpace Podcasting ‐ Video Social Bookmarking YouTube Question 6 With respect to Facebook. . online chat sessions.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 109 Question 7 Does your admission office have a strategy regarding the usage of social media technologies in the recruiting process? Yes No Our admission office doesn’t use social media Question 8 Does your admission office have any specific recruitment goals with respect to social media? Is there a goal number of inquiries. applicants. etc. that should come from social media initiatives? Yes No Our admissions office doesn’t use social media Question 9 Does your admission office use any data capture technologies that allow you to track and quantify the number of students entering your admissions funnel from social media? Are you able to track the students that come directly from social media sources like Facebook? Yes No Our admission office doesn’t use social media .
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS Question 10 Are any of these social media tools being used by other departments in your university to communicate/engage with current students? (please select all that apply) 110 Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Profiles Instant Messaging Message Boards Podcasting – Audio RSS Twitter None of These Blogging –Admissions staff blogs Facebook Pages Group Chat Sessions LinkedIn MySpace Podcasting ‐ Video Social Bookmarking YouTube Question 11 Do you have any other thoughts or comments regarding the usage of social media in university admission departments? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ .
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 111 Appendix C Prospective Student Survey – Raw Results .
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Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 123 Appendix D Admission Office Survey – Raw Results .
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Answer Options Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Admissions staff blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging LinkedIn Message Boards MySpace Podcasting – Audio Podcasting Video RSS Social Bookmarki ng Twitter YouTube Very Somewhat No Negative Negative Impact Impact Impact 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 5 4 0 3 1 0 2 0 0 5 2 2 2 Somewhat Positive Impact 5 1 1 9 8 8 4 0 0 3 3 1 3 2 7 6 Very Positive Impact 4 2 0 6 5 5 6 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 1 5 No Data Available 15 5 8 23 19 14 11 1 3 4 4 3 8 2 17 14 Do Not Use 35 51 49 17 24 31 36 58 57 50 51 55 41 54 Total 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 10 33 33 answered question skipped question *Unable to display properly from the SurveyMonkey software .Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 125 Question 3: Please rate the impact of the following technologies on the number of freshman applications you have received for the fall 2009 semester.
Running head: SOCIAL MEDIA IN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS 126 Question 4: Please rate the impact of the following technologies on the number of freshman enrollments you have received for the fall 2009 semester. Answer Options Blogging – Student blogs Blogging – Admissions staff blogs Blogging – Faculty blogs Facebook Pages Facebook Profiles Group Chat Sessions Instant Messaging LinkedIn Message Boards MySpace Podcasting – Audio Podcasting Video RSS Social Bookmarkin g Twitter YouTube Very Somewhat No Negative Negative Impact Impact Impact 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 3 2 1 1 0 2 0 0 7 3 1 3 Somewhat Positive Impact 3 1 1 7 6 5 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 6 5 Very Positive Impact 3 2 0 4 3 5 7 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 3 No Data Available 19 6 9 30 25 17 12 2 5 6 7 5 10 3 22 15 Do Not Use 34 50 49 15 23 30 35 57 55 50 51 54 41 53 Total 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 31 60 34 60 answered question 60 skipped question 10 *Unable to display properly from the SurveyMonkey software .
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