YOU’RE OLD ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND that everything in life is about cause and effect. Sometimes you can see the effects immediately (grab a hot pan and it hurts!)—and sometimes you can’t (floss your teeth every day and you’ll keep your teeth for life).
As a sophomore in high school your online activities are a combination of those two examples. What you do on social media today affects you immediately but it will also affect you when you start applying to college. (Yes many admissions reps review your social media presence!) Here are few things to consider as you post tweet share and blog.
NEGATIVE: Posting photos of you dressed inappropriately or doing anything illegal for example won’t fly with anyone (e.g. your parents school officials athletic coach) today or when you’re applying to colleges.
POSITIVE: “Liking” a college’s Facebook page following it on Twitter and asking questions or commenting on its social media sites help to demonstrate your interest.
NEGATIVE: Poor grammar probably won’t hurt you too much today but watch your language (both profanity and proofing!) before and after you start applying to colleges.
POSITIVE: Share some photos of your trip abroad! Being cultured and worldly tells a lot about your curious and adventurous side.
NEGATIVE: Be careful what online groups you join and what pages you like. Joining a Japanese anime group is fine. Liking a Japanese beer page is not.
POSITIVE: Writing about possible majors and some colleges you’re considering shows you’re serious about learning.
NEGATIVE: Pinning inappropriate jokes e-cards or photos on Pinterest can come back to haunt you. And remember many sites are linked so what you think you’re pinning to your “Things I Find Funny” board on Pinterest may be showing up on your Facebook page (even if you thought you deleted it).
POSITIVE: Share some Instagram photos of you volunteering at the animal shelter or running in the 5K cancer fundraiser.
NEGATIVE: Be careful what you write on other people’s boards and sites. Things you think are private are often public … or become public later.
POSITIVE: Help admissions reps get to know you by posting photos with fun captions about your “free time.” Are you athletic? You could post a photo of you rock climbing. Musical? Tweet a photo of you meeting your musical idol. Artsy? Mention that you’re at the museum studying your favorite abstract artists.
As a general rule of thumb ask yourself if you’d be OK with your grandmother reviewing everything in your online presence. If your answer is “yes” you’re fine. If your answer is “no” it may be time for a little spring cleaning!