The popular social networking site for professional connections, LinkedIn, has just announced the addition of three new tools geared toward its student userbase: Decision Boards, University Outcome Rankings, and University Finder. As the names imply, the tools have been put in place as LinkedIn’s way of helping to guide high school and college students on the right educational and career-oriented paths.
The first tool is geared more toward students who have narrowed their college/university search down to a few schools. It allows these students to post the schools they’re considering and share their thoughts and concerns as a way of garnering insight from advisors. If they’ve already chosen a school, they can use these boards to talk with current students and future classmates to discuss their institution of choice. It’s a great way for students to socialize, organize their thoughts, and invite knowledgeable advisors to offer their two cents – but it’s not much help if you’re still clueless as to where you’ll be studying.
University Outcome Rankings
One concern that many future students have about where they go to school is: Do the alumni of this school get hired? What does the future hold for graduates in my field of study? The University Outcome Rankings tool is designed to answer those questions. By using an algorithm that assesses millions of LinkedIn users’ profiles, the tool is able to show how certain schools – and certain disciplines within those schools – measure up against others in terms of getting hired. According to LinkedIn, this tool is the first of its kind, and it plans to broaden its horizons geographically and in terms of fields of study in the near future.
Every student has extremely specific criteria when it comes to choosing what college they’re going to attend. It’s not all about the cost of tuition or the availability of on-campus housing; some students want to live in specific areas, end up in specific careers, or attend schools with online college courses. This tool helps the directionless student get personalized feedback about which schools he or she should attend. Thus, students can weed out schools that don’t meet their needs more easily.
LinkedIn’s attempt to minimize the number of students who are unemployed after college or who drop out is commendable. Far too many students end up in the wrong schools or degree programs and are stuck with the consequences of their decisions. With these smarter tools, hopefully students will consider the more nuanced aspects of their futures and make better decisions.