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Teens turn to TikTok for college guidance

TikTok college videos // Illustration by Kate Walker

Teens turn to TikTok for college guidance


Future. In the run-up to the dreaded college Decision Day, graduating high school seniors brought their college questions to TikTok, hoping to get some advice about where they should ultimately go. It’s become a bonafide trend on the platform, as both prospective and current students get connected via algorithm. If universities themselves want to get in on the action, they may consider hiring their own TikTok ambassadors.

Community counselor
Teens are skipping the guidance counselor and going straight to TikTok for all of their college questions.

  • According to The Information, teens are posting videos with the hashtag #collegedecision to crowdsource opinions about which school they should commit to.
  • Many videos present a pros and cons list of each school, while others simply consist of a voiceover or text over stock photos of the campuses in question.

A number of videos — some actually wanting help, others just trying to game the algorithm for engagement — brought in hundreds of thousands of views.

Vibe check
Besides being the most popular social platform for Gen Z, why are so many people turning to TikTok for such an important life decision? Lissett Bohannon, a marketing manager at college review website Niche, says that TikTok has been able to fill in for the in-person college tours that COVID canceled, giving students a filter-free look at what campus life is really like — especially the stuff that college faculty would like to keep hidden.

All a prospective student really has to do is source videos from current students to get a mosaic of what the campus environment feels like, but TikTok itself has taken things a step further by seemingly pushing these #collegedecision videos to those current students’ For You pages… which, of course, prompts them to comment and give feedback.

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