Mobile social media use among college-bound high school students


Over the last several years, the E-Expectations research series has tracked the use of social media by college-bound high school students. But as smartphones and tablets increase in popularity, how many of these students are accessing these resources via a mobile device?

Noel-Levitz, OmniUpdate, CollegeWeekLive, and NRCCUA conducted a recent study of mobile social media use, surveying nearly 2,300 college-bound high school students. Here is what the respondents reported about their mobile social media use:

This graph shows that college-bound high school seniors are frequent users of social media, and more specifically, more users are accessing these sites from mobile devices (such as cell phones, tablets, and e-readers).

Click on graphic to enlarge.

When it comes to Facebook and YouTube, a large proportion of high school students now access these sites via mobile devices. This is significant for colleges and universities because it changes the dynamic of how to interact with students on sites like Facebook and YouTube. A call to action from a college, such as a link to a Web page or inquiry form, needs to fit the mobile platform if a student acts after watching a video or responding to a Facebook post. Campuses using Facebook and YouTube should make sure that any pages linked from those platforms will work well for students on a mobile device as well as those on a PC.

The Twitter response is not as clear cut. The respondents reported much higher use (25 percent) than those from the 2011 E-Expectations study, where only 9 percent reported having Twitter accounts. But only 24 percent of those using Twitter did so on a mobile device. That means campuses may have more leeway linking from Twitter to a more content-rich Web page (such as program descriptions or admissions details). However, be sure to track Twitter traffic so you can ascertain how many followers are accessing your account via mobile devices.

Finally, the results also show that the vast majority of college-bound high school students use social media. With only 5 percent not on social media, it is in the interest of all campuses to have some social media presence on these sites.

You can read  more details about mobile device usage among high school students in our forthcoming report, The Mobile Browsing Behaviors and Expectations of College-Bound High School Students, which will be released later this month. To request a copy, visit the Noel-Levitz Web site.

About the author

Ruffalo Noel Levitz has partnered with more than 3,000 colleges and universities and nonprofit organizations. We help institutions exceed their goals for college enrollment, student success, and fundraising.

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