An up-and-coming trend in college admissions is to adopt an Accepted Student Social Network. An Accepted Student Social Network, for those of you just getting on the bandwagon, is a private web community, often white-label, that accepted students enter in hopes of further connecting to their peers and, hopefully, to your institution.
If you’re looking at one now, here’s some things to consider:
1. Does this social network allow prospects to meaningfully connect to the institution and each other?
Forums don’t count. Like, as in not just shouting out over and over “I’m from Omaha! Is there anyone else out there from Omaha!” “Here is my upcoming course schedule for the entire world to see…. are you my classmate?”
2. Is this social network useful when students move through the funnel: accepted, committed, enrolled?
How can you transition them to a current student social network? You know, without just booting them.
3. Can current students, staff, and alumni contribute content and make the network vibrant?
Or is it just another portal for accepted students to email your admissions counselors?
4. Is the user interface familiar and intuitive?
Or does it look like a flashback from the internet circa 1999?
5. Does the network meaningfully interact with Facebook?
Having a Facebook Connect login is not meaningful.
6. Is the organization delivering this sustainable?
Is the organization providing this committed to building out the product to its full potential? Is it an education services company that doesn’t have any engineers? Is it a dude with a website that can’t code or design, whose idea of product development is cheap Indian outsourcing firms?
7. Does the organization building this have significant expertise in social media, web design, and technology?
Or are they based in Des Moines still dancing to 50 Cent’s “In the Club”?
8. Are the designers in touch with and committed to Higher Education?
Are they building a product with other objectives than to move the needle for you?Like, are they trying to get 500 Million users and sell click based advertising? Do they even have customer service?
9. How much work will it be to make the network vibrant and automate dynamic content creation?
Is this something you can crowd source? Once you set it up and get it going, can it keep going on without you? What happens if you get hit by a bus or if you have other real responsibilities?
These are just a few questions you should be asking, especially if you’re paying, and even more so if you’re betting your 2014 enrollment on a newfangled product. Leave a comment if you have any more questions to add!