You probably have an account on Facebook or another social media website. If you do, and you have an interest in applying to graduate school, don't miss your opportunity to use them to research master's programs.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn can all serve as valuable tools during your graduate school search. Here's an idea of what kind of information you can find on these websites.
Using Facebook to Research Graduate Schools
Just as most colleges and universities have a presence on Facebook, so too do graduate schools. Whether you're interested in attending business school or medical school, type the name of an institution into Facebook's search bar.
Once you arrive at a graduate school's page, you're sure to come across a plethora of informative content. For example, as it's Facebook, you'll find the school in question has its very own wall, typically loaded with updates that can be "liked" and commented on.
Let's say you're looking at a business school's Facebook page. Perhaps you'll find the latest news from the institution or information on upcoming events. Oftentimes, the wall will feature developments in the business industry that could be of interest to students pursuing a Master of Business Administration or similar degree.
While a graduate school's website is likely to have pictures and videos, Facebook pages often have exclusive content that can't be found elsewhere. Although it depends on a page's settings, you may even be able to engage in conversation with other Facebook users in the comments sections of posts. Use this opportunity to ask questions about the school. Who knows, you could receive responses from current students, alumni or faculty.
Using Twitter to Research Graduate Schools
Sure, Twitter is used to create and share super short messages, or tweets, but it can also serve another purpose during the graduate school research process.
Many graduate schools have Twitter pages, so conduct a quick Google search to track down their handle. Once you arrive at the page, you should see a long list of tweets that may link to everything from content on the institution's website to articles elsewhere on the Web.
If you have your own Twitter page, follow the pages of graduate schools you're interested in applying to if you want frequent updates. In the event that you have a question, consider tweeting it at the school in question. You might just get a reply.
Using YouTube to Research Graduate Schools
The popular video-sharing website isn't just a place to watch funny animal clips. It's also where you may be able to find pages devoted to graduate programs you're interested in applying to.
Make a visit to an institution's YouTube page and you could find specially crafted videos that interview faculty, students and alumni. Perhaps you'll come across recaps of school events, such as competitions between MBA students or visits to campus from renowned speakers.
No matter what the content may be, YouTube provides schools with a chance to share images of their community in an appealing video format. Actually seeing what goes on at an institution may give you a better sense as to whether you'll fit in should you receive an acceptance letter.
Still, it's important to remember that every school posts different content on its social media websites. Just because one program posts engaging content doesn't mean others will.
Also worth noting - if you can see a graduate school's social media page, they may be able to see yours as well. So be sure not to post anything that could give them the wrong impression about you.
About the Author: Laura Morrison earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.