Facebook, Instagram, Twitter . . . These can reveal a lot about you that your application doesn’t, and schools will sometimes take note of that
Let’s face it: When it’s about instant communication and knowledge about a person’s life, the Internet with its superpowers can wreck havoc and change the way people perceive you. It is important to exercise some caution on how your social media looks when applying to universities abroad. Some Admissions officers might take the time to look at your Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts to make a decision on your admit.
The dangerous side of sharing “too much”
When Daniel Fernando(name changed), a 2014 MBA graduate from Bentley University applied to schools in the United States, he was shocked to learn that some schools picked on his social media posts and probed him 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. On hindsight, I think I got rejected from that school because they might have thought I will do the same once I join school”.
In a 2016 Kaplan Prep survey of more than 350 colleges and universities in the U.S., 35 percent of Admission Officers reported having looked at applicants’ social media accounts to learn more about them. Ashish Fernando of iSchoolConnect states that at almost every Higher Ed convention in the US participated by schools, be it NAFSA or National Association for College Admission Counseling(NACAC), there are at least 4 to 5 sessions just focusing on social media. “We’re usually busy talking to so many students, so we don’t do it most of the times, but yes I know in general that there are schools who might do it,” says Sara Trechter, Director of Admissions at California State University, Chico.
Just with what we have 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 here is when the line between the digital and real world disappears: When you want to apply to get a spot at your dream school.
According to surveys, 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 so far, but also on what they get to find about that applicant on social media, so to have a more accurate and realistic profile of that person, who truly is. What they see in networks like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and others have 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 your social profile enhance your candidature than affect it.
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 look objectional to a stranger.
Keep private moments truly private
You might think that you have kept all your intimate and proud moments private, but remember that a ‘friends of friends’ setting on Facebook are still 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, then 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 wall.
Highlight your strengths
Apart from taking down the stuff that makes you look bad, also focus on adding new stuff that makes you look good. make sure your previous education and work experience are properly highlighted 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 to create a portfolio you can 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 give you the best judgement of what might look like objectionable content.
Talk to your consultants 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. Here at iSchoolConnect, we try to ensure all students applying to US 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. Reach out if you need help.