It is no secret that the college application process has changed drastically in the past year. From test-optional policies to virtual tours, there are a lot of changes to keep up with lately. There are still many formal resources you can use to make your ideal college list. There are, however, more informal ways to connect with colleges and universities. Enter social media.

Colleges and universities revamped their social media presence after the switch to virtual learning. At NYU, for example, we launched our own TikTok account and have our Admissions Ambassadors takeover our Instagram. Social media is another great tool for you to determine that tricky “college fit” aspect of the admissions process.

Read on for tips on how to make the best use of social media during your virtual college search.

Engage with the Content!

If NYU seniors doing a TikTok dance makes you laugh, or our Instagram shares helpful deadline reminders, like the posts! This lets us know to make more content like this. We want to produce content that is useful for current and prospective students. Don’t be afraid to toss us a like here and there so we know what works and what doesn’t. 

Another tip: leave us comments! Current students and staff keep track of comments and messages. We love to hear from you. Leaving comments or sending us a DM gets your questions answered quickly. Social media lets you go straight to the source for your questions that virtual tours and info sessions may not be able to cover.

Look for Student Voices!

Many colleges and universities work with current students to manage their social media accounts. Looking through their social media is an easy way to learn more about the school’s personality and campus culture.

While I generally advise students to limit their time on social media, this is definitely a great way to use the internet for good. Research and explore these pages to see if you connect with the student body. Our NYU Admissions Ambassadors are amazingly creative and show off what they love about NYU (this is one of my favorite posts of theirs). After all, these are your potential future classmates, roommates, and friends. You need to know if you have the same sense of humor!

If an official college social media page does not feature as much student content, then explore the pages of clubs and organizations. This will give you a glimpse into what kinds of communities you might be able to build at college. 

Be Aware of Your Own Social Media Presence!

Tales of admissions offices investigating social media accounts are mostly exaggerated, but you still want to make sure your accounts reflect you. If you send us comments and messages, make sure there is nothing on your account that you wouldn’t want us to see. Better yet, go private or make a separate account just to follow the colleges you are researching. You don’t want to message colleges from your finsta.

In this new virtual world we are living in, being mindful of your social media presence is more important than ever. Be responsible and safe online.

You might be able to learn just as much about a college on its social media as you would from going on a tour. Take advantage of these resources!