LinkedIn is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, it’s a valuable business tool. For others it’s a batch of annoying emails in their inbox. And now, it’s also a match-making service for universities and prospective students.
The professional social network today launched pages for universities, which will be similar to its current offering for companies. They will however be slightly tweaked in order to allow universities to target prospective and current students, as well as keep teachers, alumni and parents up to date with what’s going on in the community.
Around 200 universities have already adopted their pages to the new format, including INSEAD, New York University, University of California San Diego, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, University of Michigan, Villanova, Rochester Institute of Technology, and University of Illinois. Over the next few weeks, says LinkedIn, thousands more schools will be given access to their University Pages.
In an official blog post, LinkedIn’s Christina Allen explains that the new university pages came out of a desire to make life easier for university students.
Three years ago, my daughter and I took a road trip to visit schools before she made her final decision about college. I was hoping she’d stay in California, but it wasn’t looking good. She’d fallen in love with a university 2 500 miles away, and I had to admit it was the best choice if she wanted a great robotics programme and an equally good music school.
For the past few years, I’d watched my daughter and her friends struggle with these choices. For the most part, they were flying blind. Some knew what they wanted to study – but had no visibility into the career options that would result. Others had a career in mind, like my daughter, but little idea which school would best help them get there. The lucky ones had experienced family or friends who could help them navigate these decisions. For the others, it was truly a shot in the dark.
LinkedIn says it’ll be opening itself up to high school students as of 12 September, which should give it a nice boost in user numbers among the young. It’s also a pretty logical progression for the social network, which already has the professional market cornered. Getting younger people used to the tool can only benefit it as they get ready to enter the workforce.