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Choose the right college with LinkedIn's new University Pages

LinkedIn, the social network for career seekers and professionals, recently added a feature to make the service friendlier for prospective college students. The new feature, University Pages, gives universities individual profiles, breaking down information about the kinds of people and careers most associated with each school. While LinkedIn is usually thought of as a place for career networking, University Pages could make it easier for parents and students to choose the right college.

On University Pages, each profile provides insight on the types of careers that alumni from these universities typically achieve. Rather than relying on recruiting information from a college's website, the data is collected from LinkedIn users, which means that real people with real careers now inform decisions about prospective universities.

This is particularly useful for high school juniors and seniors who know the career they want to pursue but may not always know the best place to earn the degree they need. It may also prove useful for parents of students. College can often be expensive and simply knowing what types of careers these institutions lead to may ease the sting of prospective debt.

If, for instance, a university graduates more Starbucks than Google employees, it may be worth it to pursue a more relevant school and look into its requirements, rather than wasting time and effort on the wrong one. The University pages also lists notable alumni to give names and faces to the kinds of people who go to each institution.

Students have the opportunity to see the kinds of career paths these professional luminaries took after graduating. Do you need a graduate degree? What kinds of internships are useful? What kinds of jobs can help you work your way up? Seeing the timeline will provide insights into those kinds of questions.

In addition to University Pages, starting on September 12th, LinkedIn will lower its age restriction to 14 years old, allowing high school students the ability to join the network much earlier. Students will be able to access the usual LinkedIn features like networking and building a resume online. So far, over 200 universities like Stanford, Oxford, and NYU have adopted their own LinkedIn pages and in the future, thousands more will follow.

Choosing the right University is an often daunting task, with unknown obstacles like cost, requirements, and due dates. Any service that can make such an important decision more informed will be worth it in the future. With LinkedIn's new focus on students through University Pages, it may turn out to be an invaluable resource in placing your kids on the path to success.

Photo: Jirka Matousek