When Jackson Barnett, 19, began applying to colleges, he realized he was going to have a problem. Not only was it difficult for the son of two high school teachers to afford applying to many colleges, but the Alabama teen didn’t have the resources to tour the various East Coast and Midwest schools he was interested in.
“One of the most challenging parts of the admissions process was not getting to see all the colleges I was applying to,” he says. “I had to have a lot of faith in colleges’ websites. That’s where Instagram came in.”
It was easy to find schools’ official Instagram accounts. (“What does one semester on campus look like?” prompts Duke’sadmissions website. “Follow @DukeStudents on Instagram.”)
But Barnett soon realized that if he clicked on an Instagramphoto’s geotagged location, he would be able to see all of the pictures tagged in that specific area — which means he’d see images taken by actual students.
“I definitely went through a bunch of people’s Instagrams just to see what the life of an average student was,” he says. “It’s like having a tour of the school by a real student who isn’t paid to show you the school and tell you the things the admissions office wants you to hear. It’s like you’re getting a tiny slice of that college and it’s real and raw.” <Read more.>