8 Tips to Create a College Admissions-Friendly Social Media Presence
What you say and post online matters. Not just in life, but also in college admissions. A recent Kaplan survey of admissions officers found that 27 percent of them had Googled prospective students and 26 percent had looked up applicants on Facebook. Potential employers look at your online profile, too.
So what can you do to create a profile that will help, not hurt, your chances of getting in to your top choice college?
1. Be yourself.
Admissions officials are looking at your online profiles to get a sense of who you truly are, so don’t hide your interests or personality—show them. You don’t have to make posts or tweets sound professional, but write them in your own natural voice. Be cautious, however, that anything you post can’t be interpreted as inappropriate (or illegal!).
2. Use an appropriate photo.
Many social media sites provide a space for a photo. Choose a photo of just you, so admissions officials easily know they’re looking at the right person’s profile. Of course, avoid any images that show you partying or participating in behaviors that could be perceived negatively by colleges.
3. Be positive.
While’s it’s okay to vent occasionally, nobody wants to see someone complaining all the time (such as complaining about the boss at your part-time job or lamenting about the amount of homework your AP English teacher just gave you), so try to keep a positive spin on your posts or tweets. Share about positive life events such as your excitement about finally completing your English mid-term paper or the great job shadowing experience you had. If you need to vent often, talk to your friends directly or via Snapchat, rather than venting all of your frustrations in a place for admissions officials to see.
4. Avoid curse words.
If you wouldn’t say something in front of your grandmother, don’t say it online. Colleges don’t want to see foul-mouthed rants in your feed. They want to see respectful communication.
5. Post about your activities.
Did you run in a 5K for charity? Volunteer at the local animal shelter? Take a family vacation? Play on the basketball or volleyball team? Post photos from activities you participate in that show your interests and character.
6. De – tag yourself from inappropriate photos.
Your friends may post photos of you and tag you in them, but it doesn’t have to mean they’re all destined to end up on your Facebook feed. If you don’t care for a photo, or don’t think it shows you making the best decisions, you can de-tag yourself from the photos or hide them from your feed.
7. When in doubt, play it safe.
If you’re not sure whether something you post could help or hinder your college admissions prospects, err on the side of caution and don’t post it. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
8. Use privacy settings to monitor what others see.
When’s the last time you looked at your social media account’s privacy settings? If there are things you don’t want the public or admissions officials to see, use the privacy settings to restrict access to a full account or to specific posts.