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Teens Use Instagram to Choose Which Colleges to Attend

The Short of It

It's no secret teens increasingly rely on technology to engage with the world around them. Now, they're using it to choose colleges to attend by stalking them on Instagram.

The Lowdown

Prospective college students are turning to a new resource in their decision-making process, and it involves attempting to understand what their daily lives would be like at a given school, via Instagram.

The photo sharing app is a must-have for more than 75 percent of teens, according to a recent study. But Instagram offers more than just a fun way to capture time with friends; it's a way to see what it would really be like to attend a certain college.

"It's like having a tour of the school by a real student who isn't paid to show you the school and tell you the things the admissions office wants you to hear. It's like you're getting a tiny slice of that college, and it's real and raw," one student explained to Time.

In other words, the official brochures, website and even the school's Instagram page only show you what that college wants you to see. By following the pages of actual students who attend the college, hopeful applicants get a "real" look at life on campus.

The visual nature of Instagram's feed also provides high schoolers with an inexpensive way of visiting all the schools they're interested in. Plus, they can get a sense of what students who attend the school value, be it partying, academics or community involvement.

The Upshot

Colleges are starting to recognize the power of Instagram. Some schools are appointing students to represent them with photos posted to the site.

Of course, the downside of kids evaluating schools via Instagram is that a college can't control every photo. Would-be students and parents are bound to see things, like underage drinking, that reflect a less than flattering view of the university.

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