“I hate the letter ‘S’,” Abigail Mack says to the camera. “Of the 164,777 words with ‘S’, I only grapple with one.”
In May, Abigail – or TikTok user a_vmack – read the introduction to the Common App essay that got her into Harvard: “I used to have two parents, but now I have one, and the ‘S’ in ‘parents’ isn’t going anywhere. ‘S’ follows me,” she says in her 59-second TikTok video with more than 5.3 million “hearts” and 51,000 comments.
“I can’t get through a day without being reminded that while my friends went out to dinner with their parents, I ate with my parent … Even Grammarly assumes that I should have parents, but cancer doesn’t listen to edit suggestions.”
These days, a_vmack’s TikTok account is largely devoted to the everyday life of a Harvard undergrad – all linked with the #harvard hashtag. Her posts typically generate thousands of views, comments and shares.
RESEARCHING COLLEGES ON TIKTOK
While school websites and various rankings – like our own Best Undergraduate Business Schools – allow prospective business students to evaluate schools on any number of quantitative data points, TikTok is by far the most popular place for qualitative research.
On TikTok, prospective students can discover what it’s actually like to attend a particular school with posts about student life, programs, and facilities. Take, for example, the B-school professor who became a potato or this NYU Stern graduate who used TikTok to build awareness of her Japanese-inspired beauty line.
None of this should be a surprise to readers of Poets&Quants For Undergrads. TikTok was made popular by you and your fellow Gen Zers: According to research by Higher Visibility, a digital and SEO advertising agency, the site has amassed more than 2.3 billion downloads since its launch in 2017. It only makes sense that college students would use it to create content and build followings around their school communities.
TIKTOK’S 25 MOST POPULAR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
For a bit of fun, we’re highlighting Higher Visibility’s recent ranking of U.S. colleges and universities by their popularity on TikTok. Harvard University was the most popular with 1.28 billion views for videos with the hashtags #HarvardUniversity and #Harvard. Users post about tips on getting in, their often emotional acceptance reactions, and the Hogwarts-like campus. Pennsylvania State University is a distant second with 7.8 million views.
You can see the agency’s full list below.
TIKTOK RESEARCH FOR BUSINESS STUDENTS
Business-bound undergrads can glean similar insights by following the hashtags from their prospective schools. TikTok student users share tips on coping with finals stress, finding the best study room on campus, and tricks for getting accepted.
They also post about the funnier side of business school. While the University of Pennsylvania didn’t make Higher Visibility’s top 25, the #Wharton hashtag pops up videos like this one from annabelle.marie1, “Walking into Wharton on the first day of school still not knowing the difference between debit and credit.” Or from #nyustern, comes this video about “the feminine urge to ask people at Stern to explain the plot of season 3 of ‘Succession.’”
While several colleges on the list may not have dedicated business schools for undergrads, their graduate business schools often offer a range of classes, concentrations or majors with business backgrounds. MIT Sloan ranked No. 6 on Poets&Quants’ latest Top 100 MBA Programs while MIT was No. 6 on Higher Visibility’s TikTok list with 5 million views.
Read more about Higher Visibility’s TikTok ranking here.