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Overachieving teens are about to invade LinkedIn

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Build a giant social network and then open it up to college students? It’s like LinkedIn is doing the Internet backwards.

This morning, the career networking platform announced in a blog post that it was launching University Pages, which function exactly the way that you’d expect a university home page would but with the added benefits of linking students to the wider network of university students, staff, and alumni.

In other words, it will be like Facebook—but more professional.

Christina Allen, LinkedIn’s director of product management, claimed in the announcement that the launch is part of a “strategy to help students at every critical milestone from campus to fulfilling, successful careers.”

But LinkedIn might need to rethink its strategies if it’s going to appeal to every teen. For example, nowhere in the boring parade of white businessmen who make up LinkedIn’s “notable alumni” for Indiana University are there any actually famous notable IU alumni, like wide receiver Antwaan Randle El or Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diariestwo names that might be a bit more appealing to the average teenager. Apparently neither of them have LinkedIn profiles.

It’s not just the fact that LinkedIn’s university pages seem oddly skewed to favor businessmen, entrepreneurs, and the kind of teenager who shows up to the first day of class every year wearing a tie—it’s that the professional aspect of university is only one facet teens consider when picking their new four-year home. To the average 16-year-old, what information will be more appealing: University of Michigan’s Facebook page, with its sunny smiles from Rome; the entire #umich tag on Tumblr; or LinkedIn’s update about a new director for Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship?

We’re guessing it won’t be the latter.

Still, the upfront statistics about tuition costs and financial aid listings are helpful. And plenty of students will probably be eager to start using LinkedIn’s easy resume building tools.

Photo via pstainthorp/Flickr