Social Media Is a Big Part of College Prep During the Summer
Yes, colleges are looking at your social media. Kaplan’s most recent survey found that “40% of college admissions officers browse social media profiles to learn more about admissions candidates.” In addition to summer activities, essay writing, and other summer college prep tasks, rising high school seniors should also take an inventory of their social media presence and decide how to use it to their advantage.
While admissions officers aren’t scouring every social media profile of every applicant looking for an excuse to admit – or not to admit – them, admissions officials do recognize the prevalence of social media in today’s teens and how it can give them a little peek into who you are outside of your polished application. Getting a picture of the whole applicant is a critical part of the holistic review process, and social media can help fill in some small context in certain cases. Again, social media alone will never keep a student from admission, but it can make an applicant stand out for the wrong reasons.
Remove Any Questionable Content
Colleges aren’t going to base your admissions decision solely off of what they see on social media, but an online presence that doesn’t reinforce who you are in your application can send some red flags. We always say to use the grandparent test when posting on social media: If you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see it don’t post it. If you already have content on your profile you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see, remove it.
Highlight Your Interests
Use your social media profile as an extension of who you are on paper. Highlight your interests, activities, any awards or accomplishments, etc. Is music one of your main activities? Post a video from a recent recital. Use social media to reinforce the information on your application.
Don’t create a squeaky clean Facebook profile only to use Twitter carelessly. Keep the content and tone on your profiles consistent. Again, social media isn’t used to make decisions, but just to learn a little more about an applicant. If who you are on your application is one person, then you’re another on Twitter, and even another on Instagram, admissions officers might be left thinking, “which is the real applicant?”
Use Social Media to Research and Show Interest
Social media isn’t a one-way street with admissions officers just checking out applicants’ profiles. Prospective students should also use social media to research and learn more about different colleges. Follow schools on various social channels and interact with them when you have a question, concern, or just want to learn more. Social media can be a great resource for students building their balanced college lists and just prepping for the college admissions process in general.
Social media can be a powerful college prep tool when used properly. Keep your profiles appropriate, consistent, and a representation of your best self! Use social media to highlight your interests and to also learn more about the colleges to which you plan to apply. Use social media to your advantage this summer as you prepare for the college admissions process this fall!