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LinkedIn reaches out to students with its new “University Pages”

LinkedIn may have cornered the market on professionals, but now it’s trying to skew younger by going after students.

Today, the company rolled out its latest product, “University Pages” which aims to be a resource for prospective and enrolled college students. LinkedIn has partnered with over 200 colleges and universities around the world, giving each one a dedicated profile page, where prospective students can view regular news and updates from the university.

LinkedIn’s head of product, Christina Allen introduced the feature via a blog post referring to her daughter’s personal experience and difficulty in getting more information about which college to attend.  

For the past few years, I’d watched my daughter and her friends struggle with these choices. For the most part, they were flying blind. Some knew what they wanted to study – but had no visibility into the career options that would result. Others had a career in mind, like my daughter, but little idea which school would best help them get there. The lucky ones had experienced family or friends who could help them navigate these decisions. For the others, it was truly a shot in the dark.

Through my relationships at LinkedIn, I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world. 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.

That, in a nutshell, is LinkedIn’s philosophy behind engaging the younger crowd. If it is going to build a long term audience, it has to get them while they’re young. By getting colleges on board, the company is allowing potential students to tap into a vast alumni network and it’s not inconceivable to see LinkedIn start offering a whole host of related data features. Potential students could see which college has the highest percentage of IT graduates or the highest paid alumni. It would definitely help students narrow down the choices of colleges they want to attend.

It’s an encouraging trend for LinkedIn, almost the reverse of Facebook, which started off with a young user base and gradually became home to parents and grandparents. By getting teenagers on LinkedIn, the company is building a user base for life. 

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