According to the latest study by Pew Research on Internet usage, 73 percent of adults are now using some form of social media. It’s not a secret college admission officers use social media to discover information about potential candidates.
A poor social media profile with negative implications can convince admission officers to rescind an offer of admission. Some of the best advice a college counselor can give students is to keep their digital profiles clean and presentable.
“Out of the many social media networks available for prospective students during the college prep process, LinkedIn is one of the most beneficial,” according to College Connections President Jeannie Borin. “By simply setting up examples of personal statements in an online profile, students can align themselves with career-minded professionals and admission officers. Other social websites such as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook are great as research tools to learn of current happenings from students and colleges.”
Jeannie also offers the following tips for helping students overcome some social media choices they should avoid.
Whenever using any social media, pretend a college admissions officer is reading it as your personal statement essay for college admission. Innocuous postings are fun but keep your college plans in mind.
Remove or block any inappropriate photos including anything related to alcohol or drugs, sexually suggestive, illegal, or offensive to any group. With networks like Twitter, followers can retweet anything you post. The goal should be to focus on the positive and bury the negative. Take control of your accounts.
Do not align yourself with extreme political organizations and unsubscribe from groups that show bias or bigotry. If ever in doubt of appropriateness ask a teacher or counselor for advice.
Update the security setting on Facebook and other social media applications to restrict how your information is shared in the future. On Facebook make sure you’ve set your profile privacy settings to “Friends Only.”
Choose an attractive and professional-looking photo for your profile picture. If in doubt, think business casual not formal but not sloppy.
Regularly do a Google search of your name to find potential red flag issues with your reputation. If you find something, ask the owner of the site if they can remove it. If not you should move on by replacing any bad stories with good. Perhaps, volunteer at a local shelter and participate in events that help your community.
Create professional social profiles that can be used throughout college and beyond. The Internet will display your profile for years to come.
The most important thing is to use your common sense, which can be effective on any social media channel. Be careful and certain that your social media profile doesn’t include any posts or media that you would not want seen by the public.