Social Media: Better Safe Than Sorry

Students are routinely warned to think twice about what they choose to share on social media. Once that snapshot of you passed out at last weekend’s party is in cyberspace, it’s there for anyone to see—even the admissions officer at the college of your dreams.

That’s a fact, now confirmed by a recent survey of college admissions officers. According to a blog post in Edweek, “More than a third of the nearly 300 college admissions officers surveyed by the Kaplan Test Prep company said they have visited sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to get more information about a prospective student.”

Don’t panic yet; it may not be as bad as it sounds. Apparently a scant 20% claimed they checked social media profiles “very often” or “somewhat often,” while 80% copped to doing it “somewhat rarely” or “very rarely.” And better yet, more often than not what they find actually works in your favor.

37.9 percent of admissions officers said they found something in an applicant’s social media profile that helped the prospective student’s cause, compared to 32.3 percent who say they found something that hurt an applicant.

Proceed with Caution

Two thumbs up for posting your volunteer stint at the local soup kitchen, and your starring role in the Sound of Music last semester! Major thumbs down for posting underage drinking, out of control partying, and offensive trash talking. That’s the type of behavior that can dash those college dreams quickly. As the Edweek article points out, that can happen to even the best and the brightest: “In 2017, Harvard University withdrew admissions offers to at least 10 students who traded sexually and racially charged memes in a private Facebook group.”

The bottom line is this: Use good judgement when posting on social media. We know for a fact that people may be judging you based on what you post.