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More Students Turn to Social Media to Inform Their College Search

The share of prospective students who used social-media Web sites to learn about colleges they were considering has more than doubled in the last four years, according to the results of a survey released on Wednesday. Even so, a majority of the students surveyed said they had not used such sites in their college search.

Forty-four percent of prospective students surveyed in 2012 said they had used social-media sites to inform their college search, up from 18 percent in 2008. That’s according to a report based on the latest student poll from the Art & Science Group, a higher-education consulting firm.

Of the students who did use social media in their search process, only half said the sites had influenced their decisions of where to apply.

Prospective students who did make social media part of their college search tended to use the sites to learn about a college’s social scene and student body rather than its academics or reputation.

The report is based on a random national sample of SAT takers who planned to attend four-year colleges. It was conducted in November and December 2012. Thirty-nine thousand prospective students were invited to take the survey, and 1,138 participated. Not all of those students answered the questions about social-media use. Responses were weighted by gender, race, and region.

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