While walking between class periods, you may overhear cautious seniors warning each other to change their names on social media to avoid being found by college committees. Although it is well documented that social media behavior may cause significant damage to an applicant, it can also boost your chances of getting into college as a transparent representation of who you are.
Kaplan reported that about 12% of college students were rejected from college based on what they posted online. Beware that what you post today might affect you tomorrow. Colleges do look out for drinking, hostile speech, online arguments, and inappropriate photos. Whatever you post online creates a digital footprint and can follow you for life, especially if the post goes viral. More importantly, it can alter your future and career beyond your college applications. Before applying for college, take a step back to consider your social media activity and if you have any questionable posts to address.
In one example provided by Kaplan, an admissions officer had admitted that one student’s Twitter account was what pushed her acceptance: "One student described on Twitter that she facilitated an LGBTQ panel for her school, which wasn't in her application. This made us more interested in her overall and encouraged us to imagine how she would help out the community." This statement alone should encourage students to use their social media resources to communicate their strengths as opposed to go incognito during the application process.
When used correctly, social media can be used to brand yourself by having a consistent theme of posts, which is essential for standing out in a sea of applicants. If you avoid the high school drama, these three ideas can use social media to help gain acceptance to your dream school.
Show Your Interests
Use social media for what it’s meant to be used for – conversation. Feel free to discuss sports, politics, and what you’ve been up to after school! Even though your application has been submitted, life goes on and you’ll likely continue building on that application. Posts can be used as a transparent object to reflect what you’ve been up to long after you’ve submitted!
Take a Stance
Social media can be used to show the world that you believe in a good cause, and you’re not afraid to let others know! Impress admissions officers by showcasing your knowledge of current events and your drive to make the world a better place. Don't get in petty fights, but highlighting your interests and curiosity will highlight how you use your school smarts in the real world.
At the end of the day, your posts shouldn’t be all business. Post pictures of you having fun by volunteering around town, participating in marathons, or cooking with your friends and family. Just remember not to include any questionable content. If you’re an avid Twitter user, don’t be afraid to make posts with a sense of humor, after all the admissions team is human too and they may just simply take a liking to your personality.
In conclusion, remember that college committees are definitely aware that you use social media. Instead of hiding your personality, capitalize on its benefits and use it as an asset to reflect your personality in a way that your application cannot. Just be sure to audit and monitor your posts to ensure clean consistency and convince the college committee that you will be a valuable added member to their community.