15 Essential Social Media Sites for College Students
Now that college is looming (or is already here), it’s time to change faces and move into social media networks that work for college and future employment success. Think of these changes as student ‘branding,’ or making yourself stand out with efficiency, networking and leadership. You can do it all with these fifteen essential social media sites for college students.
The links below are categorized for your convenience. They all contain social aspects, where you can touch base with students or other individuals who have the same goals.
- Box.net: Yes, businesses use this site, and you might think about using it, too, to share content with peers, other students and even with your alumni friends. While this application is similar to GoogleDocs, you have mobile access with Box.net as well as fax agreements, the ability to print and ship using FedEx and much more. Box.net offers a free trial and a free ‘lite’ service. The next step up is less than ten dollars per month.
- Evernote: This site is insanely easy to use…so much so that it can become addictive. Use it to keep notes (never lose a phone number again!), save ideas and get inspired. You can snap a photo of a business card with your phone and have an easy way to store and access contacts, plan trips, research Web sites and clip pages directly from your browser and more. You even can send your tweets directly into Evernote.
- Remember the Milk: Manage your tasks from anywhere, get your email, SMS or IM reminders, share your tasks and even mange these tasks offline. You can integrate Remember the Milk with your Google Calendar and add tasks from iGoogle or gain access from your phone. Sign up for free, take advantage of Remember the Milk apps as well as third-party widgets that have noticed the milk.
Save or Make Money
- CampusBooks: While this is not the only site to buy and sell textbooks, we like this application because it uses an iPhone app, price tweets, price alerts and the ability to compare prices. Not only can you save up to 95 percent on textbooks, you have one of the largest supplies of textbooks online through this site. Be sure to sell your textbooks as soon as possible after using them…the next edition will knock the price down on your used book by as much as half or more.
- Gradefund: Go ahead, invite mom and dad to this one as well as all the aunts, uncles, grandparents and more. They have the money, hopefully, to sponsor grade levels (as low as five dollars) and send it to schools or directly to you depending upon the sponsor’s preference. The higher your grades, the more money you or your school receives for your education. This is a great thing, especially if you go to an expensive school. You also can look for corporate sponsorships, where you can compete for corporate funds. What better way to get noticed well before you enter the job market?
Socialize Professionally (or not)
- LinkedIn: Ah, this site is for adults, right? Right. It’s a great way to begin networking for your career even while you attend college classes. Sign up for free and begin to browse through contacts. Get introduced, but only after you fill out your profile page completely with a resume, references and more. You can even join several quality groups, such as groups specifically for minority students to connect. Use widgets to tie your social life into your professional life, but make this connection only if you want professionals to know about your social life.
- Ning: No matter your interests or location, you can find a network here that might cater to your desire for blogging, connecting, motivation, business prospects and more. While you can create your own site, Ning already offers sites that may appeal to a busy college student. You can stay in touch with people at home or build new relationships at your school. The sky is the limit with Ning.
- Twitter: You may already be on Twitter. If so, take a good look at your tweets to see if they represent who you are and your aspirations. If not, then create a new account and start over. After you notify all the contacts you want to keep, you can close that previous account forever. Use Twitter to send information to your LinkedIn account, to stay on top of your Evernote stickies and to keep informed with Remember the Milk. There’s so much more you can do with Twitter…but, you know all this, right?
Training, Internships and Jobs
- Cramster: This social networking system is not a tutoring system. It is an alternative that does not sacrifice quality. Cramster, first, is free — which makes it far different than tutoring. Even if you choose a Gold or Platinum membership, it will cost less than ten dollars per month. Get together with other students who are studying the same subjects, network at any time and provide assistance in exchange for a rewarding and memorable study experience. While you still may need tutoring, Cramster can help you smooth over those rough spots and provide you with a way to easily remember the answers for that next quiz.
- Education Community: If you are interested in climate change, globalization, infrastructure booms and digital technology, you might want to use this site to network and to gain access to over twenty-five free downloads of the same design software used by professionals worldwide, including Autodesk. Autodesk software and educational training resources will help you learn industry trends like digital prototyping, building information modeling, digital entertainment creation and sustainable design — all being used to turn these global challenges into opportunities. Training is involved, along with a design showcase for your work. Registration to join this site is free.
- InternshipRatings.com: Use this resource to rate, research and compare internships in various industries across the U.S. While becoming an intern is thrilling, sometimes overwhelming and challenging, it also can be a real pain. Find out which internships are the best from those who have been there, done that. You can search by location, industry or by company name to learn more for your research. Ask questions and share your own experiences to develop a network as well.
- Zumeo: You may enjoy this career network site, where you can get matched to internships as well as jobs. Learn more about your strengths, get connected with people who can help you get ahead and get matched to relevant jobs. Build a great peer student network here so, as alumni, you can help each other out after college, too. This social site also sports recruiters, universities and employers who want to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them.
- CouchSurfing: CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world since 2004. CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. ‘Surfers,’ or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. CouchSurfing has built a system of safety features to help keep their community safe. They are a self-moderating community, which means they work like a neighborhood watch program with references, verification and vouching. Of course, you always can decline and offer or a request, but this is one of the best ways for college students to travel safely alone.
- Zimride: Zimride offers a simple way to find friends, classmates and coworkers who want to share a ride with you. The focus of this site is on college, university and corporate communities; therefore, Zimride is able to build the critical mass of users necessary to sustain Zimride as a reliable form of transportation. Safety? Zimriders can view profiles for common networks, interests and friends before deciding to share a ride. Like CouchSurfing (listed above), you always can say no, but this is one of the safest ways to share a ride around.