Social Media and the College Admissions Office
A November 9th NY Times article, “They Loved Your GPA, Then They Saw Your Tweets,” highlights some of the new approaches to social media that college admissions offices may be using. While the article clearly states that many admissions officials do not use social media sites to learn more about a candidate, it describes instances in which postings to Facebook or Twitter have made a difference, almost exclusively negative, in an admissions decision. It advises students that colleges often track mentions of the college’s name on Twitter. One high school guidance office quoted reminds its students that most admissions officials are not “old professors” but young, technically savvy men and women who understand social media and use it themselves.
I give all high school juniors and seniors the same advice I gave to the students I worked with as a school counselor:
- Clean up your Facebook pages and remove all mention of alcohol or other inappropriate behavior. The spring trip to Nassau is best left off your Facebook page.
- Do not send Tweets that bad mouth your high school, a teacher, or a college, or that include profane language.
- Assume that anything you post on social media may be read by anyone with an interest in you. This includes what you may say on sites such as College Confidential.
- Make sure your email name is appropriate. Best to open a free gmail account to use with colleges because it will fill up quickly AND you do not want to miss an important notice that gets lost in your own email account.
- If the college offers a blog site or chat room for prospective students, DO visit it and learn what you can from it. Admissions offices often track who has taken the time to visit such a site because it demonstrates interest in their college.
- Remember, cleaning up your social media footprint will also help you when you look for summer or full time jobs. Employers often use social media to check on applicants!