Will College Admissions Officers Look at Your Social Media?
If you’re a high-schooler with access to Internet, the odds are likely that you probably spend precious hours every day on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram... the list seems endless.
Hey, we’re not judging (we’re guilty of it sometimes, too!), but you should keep in mind that US college admissions officers may check your social media accounts before deciding whether or not to admit or reject your application.
According to a recent survey by Kaplan, 57% of admissions officers reported thinking it’s “fair game” to look at social media profiles to help make admissions decisions.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately go delete or make all of your social media accounts private. In fact, if done thoughtfully, your social media presence can actually benefit your chances of being admitted to a US college. Of course, it could also be the reason you’re rejected (even if you otherwise would have been admitted).
So, if a US college admissions officer does happen to look at your social media profiles, what will they think of you? And how will it affect your admissions decision?
Check Your Social Media Accounts Before Admissions Officers Do
While some silly caption or photo you posted a few years back may seem insignificant to you now, it’s a good idea to check what kind of person you have depicted yourself to be on social media before US college admissions officers do.
Does it match how you’ve described yourself on your college applications? If not, this could be a red flag.
In fact, Yariv Alpher, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of research, told Entrepreneur that one of the reasons college admissions officers may check your social media accounts is because it “allows them to see the ‘unscripted’ applicant during an admissions process that is fairly scripted.”
While anything inappropriate or potentially illegal should obviously be removed, there are also a few less obvious things you should consider as well like your level of maturity.
For example, what’s your username (or handle) on platforms like Twitter and Instagram?
You may have decided it was cute to call yourself @juicyjuicejulie or @babysharkboi97 when you first opened your social media accounts. But is that really how you want college admissions officers to think of you now when deciding whether or not to admit you to your dream college?
So, to be safe, it’s best to change it to something simple or, at least, less embarrasing like @firstnamelastname. Boring, we know, but don’t worry. You can always go back to being @babysharkboi97 once you start college and no longer have to worry about admissions officers looking at your social media accounts.
How to Use Social Media to Benefit Your College Admissions Decisions
If admissions officers are already looking at your social media profiles, why not take advantage and show them some more good things about you that didn’t fit on your application?
You might even want to directly point college admissions officers towards your social media profiles by including a URL in the activity section. Of course, this only makes sense if what you post on social media is primarily related to one of your academic interests, extracurricular activities, or passion projects.
Some examples of a social media presence that could aid your application in this way include:
- A YouTube channel where you post videos of your robotics projects
- An Instagram account where you share images and videos from your art portfolio
- A blog where you write about the history of fashion and gender roles in Asia
Of course, there are many more possibilities than this. But what these examples have in common is that they have the power to peak an admissions officer’s interest in you and help you be remembered when it comes time to decide ‘accept’ or ‘reject’.
It’s true. Some college admissions officers will take a look at your social media accounts to help them make a decision on your college application.
But this doesn’t mean that what they find will always count against you and your chances of being admitted. As we’ve shown in this post, your social media profiles can even slightly improve your chances of being admitted if done correctly.
If, however, you decide you don’t want to constantly think about how each and every thing you post on social media will look through the eyes of a college admissions officer, it may just be best to make all of your social media accounts private until you arrive on campus for your freshman year.
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