August 20, 2013
There's finally some good news for parents of social-media obsessed teens. LinkedIn, an internationally prominent professional networking site, announced its plans to lower its minimum age requirement to 14 in the United States. And according to USA Today, the site also announced the launch of University Pages, which aims to help high school-aged students navigate the educational landscape. The simultaneous announcements appear to be part of a new initiative to expand the network's user base and appeal to a younger, social media-savvy generation of users.
The newly created University Pages may be helpful for students struggling to nail down a top college choice. As PC World noted, each school's page will feature detailed information about the college or university including current tuition details, graduation rates, and contact information. LinkedIn's new University Pages may also prove useful to college graduates by providing yet another way for them to connect with one another.
While many parents are hesitant to allow their teens to use social media, LinkedIn is distinct from other social media sites in that it specifically aims to provide academically and professionally useful tools for its users. Now, with LinkedIn's new minimum age requirement, high school students can use LinkedIn to reach out to college alumni for career advice or guidance. Students can also keep tabs on colleges that pique their interest by checking their pages for campus news, new program announcements, and information about student culture. University Pages may also offer people--from prospective students to recent graduates--valuable information about a school's alumni network. Potential students who want to know what to expect if they attend a particular school and earn a specific degree can now peruse relevant information about the school's alumni, including where they live and what industries they work in.
"I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world," said Christina Allen, director of product management at LinkedIn in a blog post. "If harnessed, these insights could provide incredible value for students - helping them explore possible futures and build a support network to help them succeed on campus and beyond."
According to NPR, LinkedIn has already allowed 200 University Pages on LinkedIn, with thousands more expected to come in subsequent months. Since many of LinkedIn's 238,000,000 users include work history and education information on their profile, University Pages also creates an opportunity for the aggregation of career data.
Although LinkedIn believes that the new pages will be helpful to professionals at all levels of their career, Christina Allen believes that students trying to nail down a school stand to benefit the most. According to Allen, students can "use LinkedIn to explore schools worldwide, greatly expand their understanding of the careers available, and get a head start on building a network of family and friends to help guide them at every milestone."
Compiled by Holly Johnson
"LinkedIn adds University Pages to help the college-bound," pcworld.com, August 19, 2013, Jared Newman
"LinkedIn's new University Pages targets students," usatoday.com, August 19, 2013, Scott Martin
"University Pages: LinkedIn Launches New College Profiles," npr.org, August 19, 2013, Bill Chappell