The professional connections site LinkedIn is launching a new section of its social network Monday: University Pages targets younger users who want to connect with colleges. More than 200 schools now have profile pages, according to LinkedIn. As part of the new effort, the company also dropped its minimum age to 14 in the U.S.
The new college profiles allow prospective students to see how many of a school's graduates are on LinkedIn, as well as a breakdown of the main fields in which they work. The pages also list the top employers of alumni.
Those details, along with a graph that shows how a user is connected to a school's alumni, could help applicants glean advice or perhaps even a letter of recommendation, in a real-world twist on LinkedIn's "recommend" function.
The service also could serve as a funnel for LinkedIn to grow its membership base — and for the company to tap into the large potential market of users under 25.
Christina Allen, LinkedIn's director of product management, says the idea for the pages came after she saw her daughter and others struggle to find usable information on colleges.
"I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world," Allen writes, in a blog post unveiling the new profile pages for schools.
Many of LinkedIn's more than 238 million users include information about their education and work history in the profiles they create on the professional networking site.
"If harnessed, these insights could provide incredible value for students," she says.
Each university page also includes standard information, such as the gender breakdown of the student body, tuition costs, student/faculty ratio, and the school's graduation rate.
A separate blog post announced changes in LinkedIn's terms of service, dropping the minimum age to 14 in the United States, and to other ages — from 13 to 18 years old — elsewhere in the world. For comparison purposes, the minimum age to create a profile on Facebook is 13.
For examples of existing college pages, you can check these out:
- New York University
- University of Illinois
- University of California San Diego
- Fundação Getúlio Vargas
- University of Michigan
- Rochester Institute of Technology