Today, the word ‘college’ is almost synonymous with the word ‘online.’ You can apply to college online, register for classes online, read textbooks online, and even take classes online. So it’s not really that surprising that many colleges are beginning to recruit students online. Gone are the days of college fairs in high school gyms, where recruiters speak to a handful of overwhelmed students for around two minutes each, the days where high school juniors and seniors find their mailboxes overrun with brochures for every college in America. Now, with the Internet, a recruiter can reach out to hundreds and thousands of students at a time without leaving their office.

The most important tool a college recruiter now has is the school’s website. There, they can give virtual campus tours, show samplings of work done by current students, and house important information in one easy-to-use place. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube not only allow recruiters to reach out to potential students, but also for those potential students to get to know each other, current students, and what the school has to offer them.

Since it’s less expensive for colleges to translate online materials into other languages than printed materials—without taking into account the money they save in postage, paper, and travel expenses for their recruiters—it’s no wonder most schools have moved on to digital recruitment. Most teenagers visit the Internet more than they visit their mailboxes, and so recruiters have a better chance of coming into contact with qualified and interested students through the internet.

Because so much of the college process now takes place online, it’ll be interesting to see how the digital recruitment process affects students once they actually get into college. Will they opt for e-Books instead of textbooks? Or will they even try and find online classes instead of spending time in the traditional classroom?