Christina Allen, director of product management at LinkedIn (News - Alert), was watching her daughter and her friends struggle through the college selection process – some knew what they wanted to study, while others knew what they wanted in a career, and still others were “flying blind.” The research process felt fragmented and nobody really knew where to start.
But Allen knew from her experience with LinkedIn that millions of member profiles housed information about their education experiences – information that could form a tremendous support network for current and prospective college students.
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This week, Allen and the LinkedIn team have finally launched University Pages on LinkedIn, “to help students at every critical milestone from campus to fulfilling, successful careers.” The LinkedIn University Pages are built by education institutions around the world, and display information central to the university such as campus news, activities or schedules. Visitors to the pages can engage in conversation with faculty or connect with past and current students, forming connections and gaining new perspectives on life at the university.
In fact, University Pages allow for institutions around the world to be explored. For instance, searching “graduate school in Paris” will allow users to compare different options, look at alumni profiles, and determine if any alumni match them in field of study or intended career. University Pages let users connect with people in various ways in order to start building support networks from peers and alum.
Particularly, Allen and LinkedIn hope that University Pages will be valuable resources for those making college decisions. The previous 18-and-older age restriction has now been dropped to 14 in the U.S. (and 13 in the U.K. and other parts of the world). The site doesn’t intend the age drop to turn LinkedIn towards a Facebook (News - Alert)-esque social media drive, but rather to encourage forward-thinking teens to think about their careers and research institutions that will get them there.
Two hundred universities have developed University Pages already, and thousands more will be able to access them over the next few weeks. So as back-to-school gets in full swing and your high school senior starts losing sleep over what the future holds, let them sign on to LinkedIn and peruse – it might be just the starting point they need.
Edited by Alisen Downey