Is Your Online Self Ready to Be Admitted to College?
But with snaps and status updates comes great responsibility. The old adage goes, “Think before you speak,” but in modern society, the more applicable phrase would be: “Think before you tweet.” A student’s online footprint is often what admissions officers use to do research on prospective students before admitting them—or not admitting them in some cases.
In a 2013 Kaplan survey, 30 percent of admissions officers said they found something online that negatively impacted the applicant’s chances of being admitted to a school.
So is your online reputation ready to be scrutinized by college admissions? Here are some things to consider.
Amp Up Privacy Settings
In the same Kaplan survey, 31 percent of admissions officers admitted to scanning an applicant’s Facebook page to learn more about him or her.
Fortunately, students have ways of maintaining a bit of their confidentiality by utilizing Facebook’s privacy settings. Some students even create second Facebook profiles of their “public” selves, while still maintaining another one under a different name. While it’s not necessarily crucial to have a perfect version of yourself represented online, it’s important to realize that what you say on the Internet stays there and is seen by others, including people who have a say in whether or not you should be admitted to a school.
No Need to Deactivate
If you think having no online presence is better than having a Facebook persona, you may be wrong. If an admissions officer goes to search for your name and comes up with nothing, this could arouse suspicion, as if you have something to hide. It could also be contradictory (a prospective marketing major that has no social media presence?). So if you don’t have a Facebook or other such profile, you may want to consider getting one (although it’s obviously not necessary to have one to be admitted to college).
Social Media Scrutiny Works Both Ways
While admissions officers are Googling students, social media accounts are also excellent opportunities for students to explore a school for themselves. Many colleges and universities have online presences on Facebook, Twitter, and more, so while college reps may be checking you out, social media accounts allow you to do the same. Platforms like Facebook are good for posing questions and connecting with university reps. And who knows—this could actually give you a boost come admissions time.
Be Yourself (Really)
During admissions season, since there’s a chance admissions officers may be looking for you online, you may want to consider making your Facebook or Twitter picture something presentable, and most importantly, of yourself. Sometimes people upload pictures that are not themselves, which can be confusing to recruiters and admissions representatives. Think of a Facebook photo as an actor’s head shot, but be natural, not phony. You want to leave the best online impression of yourself that you can.
The Bottom Line
If you’re about to post something you wouldn’t want your parents to see, then you probably wouldn't want admissions officers seeing it, either. Some things admissions officers note especially being put off by include: foul language, pictures of alcohol consumption, and blatant plagiarism. While social media allows students the freedom to post whatever they want, college admissions officers also have the freedom to browse these accounts and to make impressions about prospective students.
Published by niche.com