Instagram is the new Facebook for college-bound students.
Facebook was originally designed to connect college students. The social network’s audience now skews older, but that doesn’t mean new students aren’t still connecting online before they even get to campus.
Accepted students are now starting Instagram accounts for their class. A new crop of Class of 2023 accounts has just popped up on Instagram and admitted and prospective students are using them to make their final decisions, pick a roommate, and connect before classes begin in the fall.
With names like @penn2023_and @ugaclassof2023, these accounts are run by incoming students. They typically feature photos and selfies, submitted by other incoming students, with biographies of each person and their personal Instagram handle, The Atlantic reported.
The accounts, though not officially affiliated with the colleges and universities, often use Instagram Stories to answer questions, talk about orientation, and post announcements for the freshman class.
Claire, the 18-year-old who launched the @alabamaclassof2023 account, talked to The Atlantic about the account. She said she didn’t know anyone else going to the University of Alabama when she committed in December. She used the account to follow other students who mentioned the school in their bio and soon a new way to virtually meet her classmates was born.
Claire has now found her roommates for next year through the account.
“Their Instagrams looked cute; I felt like we had a lot in common. I DM’ed them and … you could just tell it was a perfect match,” she said. “Assigned roommates are sort of scary. You don’t know who you’re gonna get stuck with. So everyone really wants to choose people.”
Mackenzie, a 17-year-old in North Carolina, told The Atlantic that the Class of 2023 Instagram for UNC Chapel Hill was a part of the reason she ultimately chose the school.
“It makes you want to go to a school more, because it becomes real,” Mackenzie said. “You see faces and get to know people. It’s more than just a campus tour. It influences your decision.”
Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at email@example.com.