LinkedIn University Pages offer little new information
In an attempt to reach a younger audience, LinkedIn recently created University Pages — official profiles for universities on LinkedIn. Through the website, users will have access to a database of 200 university profiles — with more to come — on LinkedIn. These profiles will include information about alumni, such as where they work and which companies recruit them after graduation. The university will be able to post updates, and prospective students will have the option to ask students, staff, and alumni questions about the university.
University Pages is a great aggregator for pooling information about alumni, but these pages bring little new information that students can research online when looking at prospective schools.
Students may be able to get college information from a well-regarded professional website, but this information is often already provided on university websites or unofficial channels like College Confidential. LinkedIn does offer information about which companies alumni are hired by in one location. However, the types of companies that alumni join is also often found through sources like U.S. News & World Report and individual college websites through information about popular majors, although specific company names may not be mentioned. Some colleges, such as Carnegie Mellon, release lists of top employment companies.
Admittedly, University Pages is valuable for the connections that students can form with members of campus communities. The pages could provide a hub for students to get to know staff and professors on campus before visiting. It may not help students to connect with other students, though, as most students already use Facebook groups or chatrooms to make these initial connections if they choose to do so online.
Like any social networking website, LinkedIn will only gain traffic if it has users who determine that the website has invaluable content. With many websites already established that provide similar information, LinkedIn may have trouble attracting and, more importantly, keeping the younger user base it is trying to reach through University Pages.
LinkedIn’s new University Pages does a solid job at aggregating information about colleges and universities, but the pages do not provide information unique enough to attract the new users it targets.