September 23, 2023

Do faculties have a look at social media earlier than admitting college students? Sure, faculty and college admissions departments can check out teenagers and 20-somethings by way of public-facing social media platforms. Whether or not they truly do that, nonetheless, is one other query.

About 65% of admissions officers view social media as “honest sport” when evaluating potential enrollees, in response to a survey carried out by Kaplan Take a look at Prep in 2020. With that mentioned, solely 36% of the 313 officers surveyed mentioned they really took the time to browse candidates’ TikTok, Instagram and different accounts.

Right here’s what to find out about why faculties have a look at your social media, and methods to tailor your feeds to assist, not hurt, your probabilities of admission.

Why some faculties have a look at your social media accounts

Sure, faculties can have a look at the general public model of your social media accounts, however they don’t have some form of secret, government-like energy to entry your non-public info. It’s more likely that your social media conduct would solely be dropped at their consideration if it causes a stir.

As an illustration, in 2017, Harvard University rescinded admission offers to 10 incoming, first-year students when they were found to be sharing hateful memes via a private Facebook group chat. And in 2019, Harvard retracted its admission offer to a noteworthy student who had made racist remarks in private chats and Google Docs two years earlier.

Admissions officers who view social media as “fair game”
● 2020: 65%
Data: Kaplan

Barring notable online behavior, admissions officers are more concerned with factors like your grade transcripts and standardized test scores as well as your college application essay. But although schools want students who are capable of performing in the classroom, they also want people who will be a positive part of a diverse yet safe campus.

What you don’t want colleges to see on your social media

It’s not hard to figure out what types of digital infractions might harm your chances of college admission or financial aid. But here are two buckets of behavior to avoid:

Evidence of underage drinking or other illegal behavior

There’s nothing wrong with many high school party pictures. They might actually help you. For one, admissions officers want to enroll well-rounded students who have social lives.

For another, the photos might show that you’re comfortable interacting with different kinds of peers. Just ensure the images put you in a positive light and can’t be misinterpreted.

Insensitive or offensive language or content

Yes, college campuses are ripe for debate, even protest, and admissions officers won’t necessarily shy away from opinionated students who have a platform. But be wary of offending someone else’s views in the process of your social media posting. Words or pictures that disparage anyone else should be considered off-limits.

One test to avoid overstepping the line: Would you share this experience or opinion during an in-person sit-down with the admissions officer? If not, you have your answer.

To be on the safe side, also consider avoiding posts that are meant to be funny but could be misunderstood. You could be punished by perception, not reality.

Ways to limit how colleges look at your social media

Adjust privacy settings to limit who can view your content

Anonymize your account so that colleges can’t associate it with your name

Scrub your accounts for any language, imagery or information that could put you in a poor light, including:

  • Comments you posted on peers’ accounts
  • Photos where you’ve been “tagged” by other users
  • “Lists,” “likes” and “interests” that could connect you with the wrong crowd

Ask parents and others to browse your account for anything you might have missed

What you do want colleges to see on your social media

When applying to colleges or graduate schools, your first thought might be to check your privacy settings on popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Although that’s a safe choice, consider your social media profiles as vehicles to tell a positive story to admissions officers. In fact, according to the Kaplan survey, 42% of admissions officers who view social media profiles said that it has a positive impact on the students’ applications.

Here are five ways to improve your social media presence:

1. Match your profiles to your applications
2. Show your interest in schools
3. Post about your passions
4. Share the highlights of your social life
5. Keep posting after you apply

1. Match your profiles to your functions

Your faculty software, with well-written essays and killer letters of advice, ought to current you in the absolute best gentle. There’s no purpose why your tweets shouldn’t too. And there are methods to try this past posting with excellent spelling and grammar.

If you happen to wrote a school essay about serving to your youthful siblings via powerful occasions, for instance, an admissions officer may search for footage of them in your Fb profile. Equally, your on-line profiles could be good locations to put up images of your successes, similar to receiving educational awards or taking part in to your highschool’s sports activities groups.

It may be smart to look again at your previous images on these platforms too. You can discover one or two that will make an admissions officer query whether or not you’re the identical applicant who nailed their paper software.

Bonus tip: Do not forget that your profile footage are most likely the primary issues that schools will search for on social media. If yours is skilled however acceptable to your age, you might make a powerful first impression.

2. Present your curiosity in colleges

Liking and following the social media profiles of your most well-liked colleges is a great transfer. Take it a step additional by discovering acceptable methods to interact with the faculties on these platforms. You may touch upon a college’s put up, or tag the college throughout your faculty go to.

Be cautious of going all out to your “attain” college on social media should you’re nonetheless being thought of by others. The admissions officer of your “goal” college could possibly be postpone. You additionally wouldn’t need to poke enjoyable at your “security” college.

You may also reveal your curiosity in a specific main. If you happen to’re being thought of by a college’s faculty of enterprise, for instance, an admissions officer may wish to know that you simply observe high monetary consultants on-line.

3. Publish about your passions

Your faculty essay is one strategy to inform colleges about your deepest wishes and strongest passions. However your social media profiles can be a automobile to indicate off your curiosity in, effectively, no matter it’s that pursuits you. You may be one of many following, to call a number of examples:

  • Aspiring science main who tweets the most recent information from NASA
  • Teen journalist who’s linking to their newest weblog put up
  • Musician posting a video of their weekend live performance

Relishing your favourite pastime on-line offers colleges one other view into who you might be past your grades.

4. Share the highlights of your social life

Like destructive impressions, optimistic ones could be gleaned out of your Instagram account and Fb photograph galleries. So don’t fear about having to cover them from college admissions departments.

On the flip facet, be diligent about the way you may seem in mates’ images, particularly on platforms that enable customers to tag individuals with out their consent. You wouldn’t need an admissions officer to discover a explicit picture and get the incorrect impression.

5. Maintain posting after you apply

If you happen to apply for faculty in January of your senior yr of highschool, it may be a few months earlier than an admissions officer makes a ultimate determination. This could be the interval, between January and March, when your social media profiles may be reviewed.

If it strengthens your case for admission, use this time to be your individual advocate on-line. Join the dots for an admissions officer who may be on the fence. If you happen to targeted your software essay on a senior undertaking, for instance, put up updates about its progress.

You may additionally use your profiles to doc your seek for faculty scholarships. Posting about functions and awards may present faculties that you simply’re severe about discovering your strategy to campus.

If you happen to haven’t but utilized to colleges, think about together with a hyperlink to, say, your LinkedIn profile in your faculty software. This manner, you can too level admissions departments towards the social media platform of your alternative.

Bonus tip: Remember that your college may also use a social-media-like cell app referred to as ZeeMee that connects colleges with their potential college students. It could possibly be another strategy to share your story.

The right way to use social media to your profit

While you learn that 10 potential Harvard college students had been instructed they had been now not welcome within the class of 2021, your intestine response may be to close down all of your social media accounts. Much less dramatically, you may go for proscribing public entry to the accounts.

Relying in your scenario, these may be the wisest steps to take. However think about that you simply’re in charge of your narrative.

If you happen to shut your accounts, you lose one strategy to state your case to get into a specific faculty.

So, as an alternative, think about turning your social media feeds right into a optimistic factor for admissions officers to have a look at. It’d simply push you excessive and allow you to get accepted.

And should you plan to work whereas at school, think about cleansing up your Google search outcomes and social media pages to additionally impress potential employers.