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Social media and college admissions

College admissions officers are reviewing the social media accounts of their applicants.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A growing trend in college admissions is that Admissions Officers are viewing the social media accounts of their applicants. According to a Kaplan Test Prep Survey, 31% of admissions officers have visited an applicant’s social media profile. As college admissions becomes more competitive, it is likely the number of admissions officers viewing social media profiles will continue to increase.

Why would admissions officers view social media accounts?

  • Identify and recruit talented students
  • Alerted about inappropriate behavior on social media
  • Ensure students fit the college image in regards to how they carry themselves publicly
  • Curiosity

While the chance an admissions officer will see a student’s social media presence is slim, there is a chance. Moreover, colleges are not the only entities that review social media before making decisions. Scholarship and hiring committees are also using social media during their selection process.

As students start to review their social media accounts, they should ask themselves, “Do I want [fill in the blank] to see this? It is frequently called the “grandma test,” but anyone can be used as the moral compass. If there is something that does not pass the test, students should delete the post.

To be safe, students should avoid the following topics and photos on social media:

  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Sex
  • Bad mouthing someone/something
  • Cursing
  • Violence

Many students might think they should delete their accounts or make it difficult for admissions committees to find them on social media. If students do this, it could be a big mistake. If colleges are choosing to look for their applicants on social media, not having a presence will make them ask, “What are they trying to hide?” Instead, students should clean up your accounts and use social media to highlight positive attributes about themselves and their activities.

Students should review their social media presence and make sure they are projecting the right image. It would be a shame if a student missed out on an opportunity for making the wrong decision on social media.

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