Instagram: Redefining The College Search For Potential Students

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We all know Instagram for obsessive selfie-taking and filtered photos of food, among other things, but who knew it could actually aid in the college search?

According to Time, it’s doing just that for high school students all over the nation.

“One of the most challenging parts of the admissions process was not getting to see all the colleges I was applying to. I had to have a lot of faith in colleges’ websites. That’s where Instagram came in,” 19-year-old Jackson Barnett said.

He began by looking at universities’ official Instagram accounts, until he discovered something new–when he clicked the geotagged location of the school, he was able to see pictures taken by students in the area.

These pictures, unlike the carefully-constructed personas presented on official school accounts, gave a more realistic picture of the school’s atmosphere.

“It’s like having a tour of the school by a real student who isn’t paid to show you the school and tell you the things the admissions office wants you to hear. It’s like you’re getting a tiny slice of that college and it’s real and raw,” Barnett explained.

High school students are able to look at current college students’ photos and determine what campus is like–diversity, political activity, sports, etc.

“When I began looking at schools I didn’t think I’d end up at a division one sports school. I never thought I’d be sitting here watching the first round of March Madness,” 17-year-old Morgan Levy said. However, looking through Instagram, the campuses with a lot of athletic activity ended up capturing her attention.

Of course, more negative images ultimately emerge through geotags–partying and underage drinking, for example.

According to administrators, though, colleges aren’t really worried about that. Students are the ones taking the risks there. Prospective employers won’t be too pleased if they happen to research them at any point in the future.

Statistics say that 75% of teenagers now are on the photo-sharing app, and this year’s graduates will be the first who were able to document their entire high school timeline using it.

This is just another sign that we’re in a constantly changing digital age and we, as young people, have more resources than ever before.

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