In an era where digital platforms profoundly influence educational choices, TikTok has emerged as a pivotal tool for higher education institutions aiming to connect with prospective students and alumni.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shines by showcasing unique content that resonates with its audience, from robots solving Rubik’s cubes to glimpses of student life, demonstrating the power of diverse content to attract various audiences.
  • Bowling Green State University (BGSU) leverages TikTok to highlight its innovative offerings and has seen direct impacts on enrollment, with students citing TikTok as a key influence in their decision to attend.
  • Ohio University (OU) excels in engaging with their audience through creative content that ties into popular TikTok trends, proving the importance of staying relevant and connected with current and prospective students.

According to a report, an impressive 68% of high school students turn to social channels to research schools, and 80% of alumni organizations recognize social media’s significant impact on engagement. With 41% of school officials attributing increased enrollment to their social strategies, the message is clear: TikTok is an essential platform for higher education marketing.

The journey to establishing a successful TikTok presence comes with its hurdles. Challenges include navigating state and university restrictions, addressing the needs of multiple audience segments, overcoming departmental silos, competing interests, and utilizing effective tools for social media management. Despite these obstacles, institutions like MIT, BGSU, and OU have found innovative ways to thrive on TikTok, setting a benchmark for others to follow.

Which Universities Are Getting the Tiktok Spotlight?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sets a high bar with its TikTok content, ingeniously combining the intellectually stimulating with the relatable. A standout TikTok showcases a robot solving a Rubik’s cube in mere seconds, a testament to MIT’s cutting-edge technological advancements and its knack for making complex subjects accessible and entertaining. This approach not only highlights MIT’s academic prowess but also connects with the tech-savvy generation in a language they understand: innovation and speed.


A robot developed by MIT students Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo can solve a Rubik’s Cube in a record-breaking 0.38 seconds. Video: MIT Mechanical Engineering #rubikscube #solving #robot #recordbreaking

♬ original sound – MIT

Bowling Green State University (BGSU) takes a different route by focusing on campus life innovations, such as the Carillon Market’s use of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology. Through TikTok, BGSU demonstrates how it integrates modern technology into students’ daily lives, making mundane tasks like shopping seamless and futuristic. This practical yet forward-thinking content underscores BGSU’s commitment to enhancing student experiences through technology.


Check out the Carillon Market, now featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology! 😮🔥 @Amazon @BGSU Dining #AmazonJWO #BGSU #college #ohio #midwest #AlwaysBG #student #university #amazon #technology #justwalkout

♬ supїdo (slowed + reverb) – фрози

Ohio University (OU) taps into the power of trends and community spirit with their creative renditions, like their Halloween themed series featuring the university’s mascot, Rufus the Bobcat. By participating in popular trends and adding a unique, thematic twist, OU fosters a sense of belonging and pride among its community, showing that education can be both enlightening and fun.

These institutions exemplify how TikTok can be a dynamic platform for showcasing educational excellence, technological innovation, and community engagement, each through their unique lens and creative approach.

Crafting a Standout Social Media Strategy

Success on TikTok hinges on understanding and leveraging the unique culture and interests of the educational community. Jenny Li Fowler from MIT emphasizes the importance of identifying “bread and butter content” that embodies the institution’s spirit. At the same time, embracing spontaneity and quickly capitalizing on moments where popular culture intersects with the university’s culture can lead to social media gold.

Elise Holbrook and Juliana Colant from Ohio University stress the importance of student involvement in content creation, acknowledging that students are instrumental in producing content that resonates with their peers. Meanwhile, BGSU’s Brianna Blackburn highlights the effectiveness of a brand ambassador program in generating fresh ideas and maintaining a pulse on campus life.

The Future of Higher Ed on TikTok

Institutions leading the way on TikTok don’t just follow trends; they integrate their unique identity into popular content, creating a blend that’s both engaging and informative. The key to growth on TikTok, as shared by these educational leaders, is not just about chasing virality but building a consistent and connected community that reflects the institution’s values and spirit.

As TikTok continues to shape how students and alumni engage with educational institutions, the examples set by MIT, BGSU, and OU offer valuable lessons in leveraging social media for higher education. By focusing on community, connection, and creativity, colleges and universities can foster deeper relationships with their audiences, paving the way for a new era of digital-first recruitment and engagement strategies.

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