Did you know that college admissions officers often look at your social media? It is a part of who you are- today, post-covid, more than ever. Your Instagrams, Finstas, Snapchats, TikToks, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media are fair game for college admissions officers and coaches. Social Media can be a place where you can shine, connect and make a positive impression. This makes it really important to know a few things like the tips suggested by IECAs 10 Tips to Help College Applicants Establish Their Social Media Presence
Keep in mind that you are never anonymous. Your posts will never disappear. It does not matter if you are private or using an alias-your post can be found. You may want to develop a social media presence specifically for college, but remember what we just said above. And make sure you use the same email address for your social media as you use in your college applications. [/box]
There are many reasons to have appropriate user names and to know what is in your profile(s). Especially now while the world is working in an online environment and everyone, even the not-so-tech-savvy people are learning to go virtual and viral. Take control of your social presence. Social media continues to grow, change, and become more “social” and accounts are becoming less “private”– so there is sufficient cause to do your own social media audit. READ: Why Colleges Look at Students’ Social Media Accounts.
Tik Tok is “in” and Facebook is “out” for teens these days, but there are many other platforms like Reddit, Pinterest, _______ (insert new one here) and each is a window wide open to the student. In a recent Kaplan poll, 29% of admissions officers looked at prospective students’ social media posts. And it is not just about what you post, it is about what you “like,” where you “comment,” and what you share. Luckily, there are many ways to build a favorable online presence. Musicians, athletes, actors – anyone whose performances or products would be best expressed in video format – should consider creating a YouTube channel. Aspiring writers may benefit the most from starting a blog with regular posts. Would-be photographers and painters can use Pinterest or Tumblr to display their work.
WHAT TO DO TODAY?
~Google your own name. ~Look up any profile you may have used in the past. ~Do not accept tags in posts that are not in line with your values. ~Clean up all of your sites. ~Start a new social media account to use specifically with colleges. ~Post things you want colleges and admissions folks to see.[/box]
Carolynn Crabtree, President of Cornerstone Reputation shares these statistics:
- 67% of admissions officers surveyed searched for applicants on Facebook during the 2014 – 2015 admissions season
- 40% found content about the applicant that left a negative impression
- 53% found content about the applicant that left a positive impression
- 81% of schools surveyed have no formal policy on searching for applicants on social media
- 22% of admissions officers believe that an applicant could gain an advantage in the admissions process by building a positive online presence
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Admission officers may be impressed when they see your talents on social media. You could showcase an article, performance, award, or show your involvement through community service or as part of a team. Some colleges allow you to send links with your work directly to them. Whether you blog, are a photographer, play an instrument, or sing, make sure the content is high quality. This is especially helpful when you have a unique talent that simply must be seen and heard. We love using LifeStream Digital Media with our students so that they can create one link to all of their accomplishments, photos, papers, contests, press releases and more.
- How can you add something unique to your application?
- How can you demonstrate an interest in a program?
- How can you influence searches for your name?
- How can you step outside the box?
- How can you connect with admissions staff more personally?
How interested are you in a particular college? Some colleges assess your interest in them before deciding whether or not to admit you. Using Social Media may be a way to demonstrate this interest. Register on the website of interest. Follow Coaches on Twitter. Follow different Instagram sites and hashtags that are in alignment with your interest. This is also a great way to understand what is brewing on campuses and may help you with the “WHY US” college essay.
People typically think of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as being the social media giants. In fact, most institutions of higher education maintain a profile on each platform. Note that some colleges may own just one generic profile, while others may have additional pages for undergraduate or graduate students or students of particular majors. Generally, the more specific the page, the more closely it may be monitored by admissions staff.
Still, the influence of Reddit and Quora should not be underestimated. On these two websites, which some would call “untapped resources,” you can demonstrate your ability to engage in mature conversations, contribute meaningfully to discussions and display the full range of your interests. Build up an account on either by answering questions you are knowledgeable in and receiving upvotes for strong content.
Athletes are Checked Most Often to Discern their Character and Lifestyle
Coaches are already online looking at profiles and accounts that you’ve sent to them. Your videos that you send with your letters of interest, your team profiles, your social media is all a part of them understanding what type of person you are on and off the field/court/lane. They want to know about your personality and if you will be a good addition to their team, socially and athletically. They want to see how you communicate with others, who you follow, how you contribute; they want to get an overall sense of you. Give them the good stuff!