I recently spotted the word "ubiquitous" on a list of the most overused/obnoxious words in the English language, a distinction which I find unfortunate because "ubiquitous" is one of my favorite words, and because I can think of no better one to describe today's burgeoning social media. Social media, as the aforementioned adjective implies, is an omnipresent fixture of the zeitgeist. It has transformed the way we communicate in both our personal and professional lives and it has revolutionized the ways in which we receive information.
When it comes to the worlds of secondary and higher education, Twitter is a particularly effective social media platform. If you haven't already created an account of your own, I encourage you to do so. Twitter provides an excellent way to keep tabs on important news in education, disseminate ideas and links that are important to you, and even connect with students, fellow counselors, and college admission officials. And best of all, it demands brevity ("tweets" are limited to 140 characters), a welcome convenience in the life of a busy counselor.
But with around half a billion registered users, getting started on Twitter and using it effectively can be a daunting prospect. To help you wade through the multitude of accounts, here's a list of 20 Twitter handles I think every counselor should follow:
- @CollegeXpress Naturally, I'm inclined to start the list with a bit of shameless self promotion. Our Twitter feed keeps you updated on all our latest articles, blogs, college lists, and scholarships.
- @WGOH And here's a little more self promotion. Wintergreen Orchard House tweets promotions and articles and advice for counselors and students.
- @NACAC Stay on top of all the goings-on of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
- @IECA Important updates and education news from the Independent Educational Consultants Association.
- @ACT and @ACTStudent Tweets about the ACT exam and important education news. These accounts also serve as a place where you and your students can ask questions about the exams.
- @CollegeBoard Tweets from the folks who bring you the SAT and AP exams. A good way to keep tabs on upcoming deadlines and testing dates.
- @commonapp Find helpful questions and answers about the Common Application.
- @chronicle News you can use from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- @timeshighered Based in London, Times Higher Education relays important news about education around the globe.
- @GdnHigherEd Also based in the UK, The Guardian Higher Education Network touts itself as "an online community for everyone working in, or with, higher education."
- @HuffPostCollege From Huffington Post, one of my favorite Twitter accounts for news about college admission and college life.
- @FAFSA Updates and advice from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
- @usedgov News and information from the U.S. Department of Education.
- @CollegeSummit College Summit is an organization dedicated to increasing "the college enrollment rates of youth from low-income communities."
- @nytimescollege Updates on all things college admission from "The Choice," a New York Times education blog.
- @nytedlife The Twitter account for "Education Life," a quarterly section of The New York Times about colleges and universities.
- @USATODAYcollege College-related tweets from USA TODAY.
- @edutopia Tweets from Edutopia, an organization founded by George Lucas with the goal of sharing "evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education."
- @educationweek Updates from "American education's newspaper and website of record."
- The Twitter accounts for any and all colleges and universities. Nearly all schools now have at least one social media account, and Twitter is a great way to stay connected with them.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a good starting point if you're new to Twitter, or it may help you "rein it in" if you've over-followed and want to hone in on a few essential accounts. The Twitterverse is all but limitless, and there's certainly a lot of unnecessary chatter out there. But with a little time and patience, it can be an excellent addition to your counseling game plan.
Which Twitter accounts do you follow and find most relevant as a college counselor? Share your favorites in the comments!