guest blogGuest blogger Michael Gluckstern (bio below) adds his perspective today on using LinkedIn in selecting a college, making this social medium an ever-increasingly important decision tool for college-bound high school students (and their parents).

LinkedIn is best known as a professional networking tool for people looking for internships during school or jobs after graduating from college. But within the past few years, this platform added university pages as well as a LinkedIn Students app where high school students can research information about colleges and their graduates to help them choose a college.

Using LinkedIn and the app, high school students can learn specifics about:

  • where a college’s alumni live and work
  • what jobs a college’s alumni have
  • the most popular majors of a college’s graduates
  • top employment-related skills that a college’s graduates possess

Students also can see profiles of alumni, salary information, career descriptions and suggestions, as well as search for jobs and internships.

For example, Iowa State University’s LinkedIn page displays career insights for more than 143,000 alumni. It shows that top employers of Iowa State graduates include companies such as Wells Fargo, John Deere, Principal Financial Group, Nationwide Insurance, Boeing and IBM. It also shows top career fields for graduates are engineering, education, operations, business development and sales. In addition, the most popular majors listed are mechanical engineering, business administration and management, electrical engineering, computer science and marketing. Among the graduates’ top skills are leadership, customer service, management and public speaking.

The insights LinkedIn provides can help students determine if their own goals match the school’s outcomes, as well as gain ideas for what career options are available. For example, seeing the areas studied along with the jobs alumni have can help students glean whether a college’s graduates are employed in their field of study. The information about skills provides a glimpse about skills the college’s curriculum emphasizes, such as communication or leadership.

To find a college on the LinkedIn website, Google the college name and the term LinkedIn, such as Iowa State University LinkedIn. Alternately, sign up for a free LinkedIn account, and enter the school name in the search box. On the results page, click the Schools tab.

glucksternheadshotMichael Gluckstern is the publisher of My College Guide, an online resource providing information on college admissions, career choices, financial aid and college life for both traditional high school students as well as adult learners seeking to obtain a college degree either online or in a classroom setting.