Do colleges look at social media accounts of their applicants?
Do colleges look at social media accounts of students? Certainly! Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter can reveal a lot about you that your application doesn’t. Schools sometimes take note of that. This effect of social media on college admissions can either hamper or boost your chances of getting in.
A lot of students tend to ask ‘Do colleges look at social media profiles of applicants?’ without being aware that the effect of social media on college admissions is immense. Let’s face it: When it comes to knowledge about a person’s life, social media can wreak havoc and change the way people perceive you. And several admission officers tend to look at social accounts of students applying to the college.
So when applying to universities abroad, it’s important to exercise some caution on how your social media looks. Some admissions officers might take the time to look at your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram account to make a decision on your admit.
What students and directors of admissions are saying
Nikhil Fernandes is an international student studying in San Francisco, USA. He tells us that when he first applied to schools in the United States, he was shocked to learn that some schools picked on his social media posts and probed him about it during the phone interview.
“I was speechless when a school official asked me about all the clubbing and party pictures I posted on my Facebook Account. In hindsight, I think I got rejected from that school because they might have thought I will do the same once I join school”.
Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect, states that at almost every Higher Ed convention in the US participated by schools, there are at least 4 to 5 sessions focusing on social media.
“We’re usually busy talking to so many students, so we don’t do it most of the times. But I know in general that there are schools who might do it,” says Sara Trechter, Director of Admissions at California State University, Chico.
What we just mentioned above is enough to destroy your image in front of family and friends in the digital world. But there is another aspect in which the wrong pictures or comments of you can ruin you. And this is when the line between the digital and real-world disappears: when you want to apply to get a spot at your dream school.
Why do colleges look at social media accounts of applicants?
In a 2016 Kaplan Prep survey of more than 350 universities in the U.S., it was seen that 35% of admission officers reported having looked at applicants’ social media accounts.
More and more institutions that base their student’s selection criteria not only on what they say in their application forms, interviews, or their personal records but also on what they find about that applicant on social media. To have a more accurate and realistic profile of that person, the browse networks like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
This has the power to help students…or to hurt them.
What you should do
Before submitting your application to schools, here’s what you should do to make sure that the positive effect of social media on college admissions enhances your candidature-
Google your name
What shows up on the first page of Google when your name is typed in? It’s best to have your LinkedIn profile be at the top of your Google results. If you don’t have one, create a good LinkedIn profile and in most cases, it will automatically show up on the first page of Google. Check all the other blogs, posts, etc that you see on there and delete the ones that might look objectional to a stranger.
Follow the social media accounts of universities you like
The first thing you might wanna do is follow the accounts of all the colleges you like, as well as the account of your current institution. This will show them how enthusaistic you are about being involved at your own college and depict your interest in their institution as well. If you like, you could also spend some extra time and follow the university professors you feel inspired by.
Keep private moments truly private
You might think that you have kept all your intimate and proud moments private, but remember the ‘friends of friends’ setting on Facebook. Your posts might still be visible to people you do not know, just because they know your friends. And if they end up resharing the same picture and making it public, you cannot do much. The best way to know what strangers are viewing on your profile is to ask a friend to temporarily unfriend you and use their profile to check your timeline.
Highlight your strengths
Apart from taking down the stuff that makes you look bad, focus on adding stuff that makes you look good. Highlight your previous education and work experience where necessary. If you were involved in any non-profit activity, like their pages and flaunt them on your wall. A free mobile app called ZeeMee can be useful to collate all your social profiles and create a portfolio to share with admissions officers.
Ask your parents
You may not allow your parents to be friends with you online, but in this case, it might just be worth it to have them assess your social profile. They will give you the best judgment of what might look like objectionable content.
Talk to your consultant (if you have one)
If you have a consultant, ask them to describe how they see you on your online profiles. They will also be able to guide you to make your social profiles stronger. At iSchoolConnect, we try to ensure all students applying to schools and universities have their best face forward on their social media profiles. Our Artificial Intelligence applications also provide help in making your profile stand out.
So, there you have it. A few amazing tips on how to use your social media profiles to impress the university admissions committee.
So, update your profile, apply, and let me know how it goes!