As the first priority and early action deadlines begin to arrive and you start submitting your applications, it’s important to recognize the factors you can control once you hit that submit button on the application. Interestingly, one of the biggest factors you have a say in presenting to admissions officers is your presence online. Here are some guidelines to think about as you start connecting with colleges online.
Wait, Colleges Use Social Media?
Yes! Perhaps unsurprisingly, colleges are very active on social media as part of their efforts to connect to students and expose their institution to them as students start applying. What may be surprising, however, is that colleges also look at students’ profiles during the admissions process to investigate particular sections of their application such as unique talents, prestigious awards, and other notable aspects in order to verify them.
And the number of colleges looking at social media during the admissions process is growing. Recent estimates show as much as 40% of admissions officers checking a prospective applicant’s profiles to determine veracity of statements, and sometimes the results aren’t so good. Of the profiles admissions officers checked, approximately half of them hurt the student’s application.
How to Use Social Media to Your Advantage
While the chances of social media hurting your application are 50-50, there are simple, easy things you can do to make sure social media won’t be the detriment of your application. Make your account private on platforms and apps such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook; not only will it help ensure, but it’s a good idea in general to keep your life private.
If you’d prefer to keep some accounts public, then be wise in what you share: photos at a party are fine (and may even be beneficial, as colleges search for well-rounded people), but be sure to demonstrate good judgment in the photos you appear in. Remove any photos you have which display rude or inappropriate behavior or any tweets in which you sound abusive or hostile.
This shouldn’t sound like you can’t have an opinion online; in fact, colleges may appreciate the views you have as part of curating a wide variety of perspectives in their incoming class. However, ensure that the arguments that you are trying to make are cordial and constructive and not attacking.
Above all, the goal with social media in terms of college admissions is to present yourself in the best way possible and to reflect who you are as a student, a friend, and a person. With these things in mind, you’ll be able to make certain that your presence online will be a source of acceptance and not rejection to colleges.