Social Media & College Admissions
Admissions officers are curious. They want to know as much about you as possible and assess your fit for their schools. But is there information you should actually try to keep to yourself? If you Google yourself, would you find something that you may want to hide?
During peak busy times, admissions officers may read around 40 applications a day. They are trying to evaluate the files effectively and efficiently and are not inclined to be surfing the web and social media to check you out.
That said, there are times when they may be tempted to peek at you more deeply, so you should make sure that you have a responsible cyber presence.
Of course, some of the most obvious places to seek you out are Facebook and Twitter; however, they are not the only places admissions officers may view you. Think about what you write in online forums, for example. Admissions officers innocently researching what students may think about their schools by reading online forums may stumble upon comments from applicants. What if an admissions officer recognizes you and sees that you were not serious about your application or really did not have nice things to say about that school? It could put your admission in jeopardy.
When would someone actively check your online presence? Here are two situations that are positive:
- You invite someone to check you out. For example, you make a claim that you have a particularly large number of Instagram followers and that you are well-known for your skill at photography.
- Admissions officers want to try to put a face to a name – they think they may have met you before so they look you up to confirm.
Of course, admissions officers might engage in some detective work if applications have glaring inconsistencies. If you are presenting yourself honestly and thoroughly, though, you should not worry.
To protect your image, simply be careful and responsible about what you post. This is important in general, frankly, and learning these good habits now will pay off. It can assist your ability to earn internships and jobs during and after college.
Here are some tips:
- Limit your Facebook account access to just your true friends. Questionable material will then theoretically not reach admissions officers’ eyes. Of course, you really don’t want to post anything that could come back and haunt you anyway.
- Post only “appropriate” pictures anywhere that can be viewed publically.
- Use your words cautiously. If what you say could not be in a PG movie, think twice about writing it.
- Avoid writing negative things about a school. These days, when admissions officers can weigh your interest in their schools as a factor in admissions, you do not want to give them any reason to doubt your interest.
Turn your worry about being seen by admissions officers in a bad light into an opportunity to clean up and positively shape your cyber presence – for admissions and for your future. Rather than make your presence a liability, block private or “inappropriate” things from strangers and start to turn your presence into an asset.
This article was written by Rachel Korn. To learn more about Rachel, visit her website: www.rachel-korn.com/