That’s where we come in! Based on our surveys of hundreds of college admissions officers and athletic coaches, here are four times during the college application process when what a student puts on the web actually matters.
1. Applying to a ‘Reach’ School
Analysis of our most recent Undergraduate Admissions Survey reveals that almost one quarter of admissions officers feel having a strong online presence gives an applicant an advantage. It is clear that students applying to more than a handful of schools, and in particular to “reach” schools, are likely to get searched online. Armed with this information, applicants should certainly avoid developing a ‘negative’ presence. Cornerstone Reputation’s goal is to take this practice a step further, and use the time students already spend online to create a positive online presence that will serve as an aid in the admissions process.
2. College Athletic Recruitment
During the last full recruiting season an overwhelming 85% of coaches reported that either they or someone within their coaching staff conducted online research on their athletic recruits, as compared to 81% in 2013-2014. One surveyed coach summed up the prevalence of online searches simply: “Recruits need to know that coaches ... will look them up online.”
As coaches continue to research their recruits online for a variety of reasons, the content they are able to find becomes increasingly important. Whether searching for a highlight video or looking into a person’s background, the material they find has the power to change their opinion of a potential recruit.
3. College Scholarship Quest
Anecdotal evidence suggests that scholarship applicants get searched more often than general college applicants. This is not surprising, given that scholarship applicants gets more scrutiny in general. And that scholarship sponsors are often expected to ensure that scholarship recipients appear to meet certain standards of character. Once again, the virtual world serves as a unique opportunity for students to highlight their skills and reinforce elements of their application essays or resume.
4. Internship Applications
For college students seeking to enter the job market, it is a virtual certainty that their online presence will be reviewed by potential employers. In a study to be published later this year, we’ll reveal that 92% of hiring managers search for candidates online. For this reason, Cornerstone Reputation recommends students set up specific social media platforms (including LinkedIn) in order to ensure that the positive and controlled content online about a student is what is discovered by those who are searching.
By Jennifer Schwartz