What does your social media presence say about you? If you were including your social posts with your college application, would they help or hurt? How smart are you being about your social media presence?
While posting selfies with friends seems harmless enough, consider who else might scroll through your feed history: admission reps who will be reviewing your college applications!
This isn’t to scare you, but to get you thinking about the bigger picture so that you can be intentional in your posts and use them to your advantage.
Are admission reps really looking?
The reality is that a lot of schools don’t have the staff to go in and look at social media accounts. The workload is just too great. That being said…
If something in your application raises a red flag, or an admissions office gets a tip from a parent or student about one of your posts (yes, that really happens), admission directors will search for your presence on social media if they have a reason to do so.
In one instance, a student had written some disparaging remarks on their social media account in what was essentially bullying behavior.
College administrators looked into the matter and, after reviewing the post, deemed the student a risk to the college community.
The student was not accepted solely because of the post.
So before you post anything, think about the potential consequences of making inappropriate statements or posting videos, photos or comments that could make an admissions officer question your reputation.
Parents, your posts can also get reported to admission reps, so don’t forget your posts matter too!
Always use Claudia’s barometer: If you wouldn’t want grandma to see it, don’t post it.
Be smart by following and connecting
It’s smart to follow college admission accounts to keep up with what they are posting. You get to see what the college thinks is important and decide if that resonates with you as a possible future student—or not.
Student athletes can use social media to their advantage by connecting with coaches. For example, many football players share highlights from their games on Twitter and message coaches to review the film.
In some cases, “coaches are reaching out to the kids on social media to start the conversation,” says Jon Sims, Associate Dean of Admissions at Davidson College in North Carolina.
So be active on social media. Just make sure that what you’re presenting is actually what you’d want a college coach or admissions officer to see.
Be smart by showing your interests and talents
Showing your best self and providing details not included on your college application is another way you can be intentional in your posts.
Music and theater performances, photography and other artwork, promoting a small business you run, or your volunteer activities are all examples of posts that could be beneficial.
Did you do a site visit or a summer camp program at one of your potential colleges? Post photos and stories that show your interest and alignment with the college community.
Tag organizations or causes you’re involved with when you post videos and photos of your service work to highlight your community involvement and social passions.
Be smart by being kind
Your words and images matter, even when you comment on someone else’s post or repost something.
Is someone posting an action or point of view that could make the community feel unsafe? This is a primary concern for colleges. You have a right to your opinion, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. So be mindful about what you post, comment on, or repost.
It may not seem like a big deal now, but when you’re applying for post-graduate school or for your first “real” job, you’ll be glad your social media history follows the rules of professionalism and kindness.
Ask a trusted adult to review your presence on social media for you. Ask us! We’re happy to give an honest opinion of it all so you can be smart about social media and use it as a helpful tool in the college process.