Applying to College? Check Your Facebook First

on February 24, 2017

For students applying to college, their appearance on social media, like Facebook, matters more than ever. About 35 percent of college admissions officers check an applicant’s social media accounts.


Virtual impressions are increasingly important, according to a survey published in February 2017 by Kalan Test Prep.


Of admissions officers who look at Facebook, Twitter and similar social media outlets, about 25 percent say they check them often. About 42 percent of admissions officers say a student’s online persona has a negative impact on admission. About 47 percent of admissions counselors, however, say social media has a positive impact on an applicant’s chances.


If you mentioned a talent or hobby in your application — or admitted to having a criminal background — you’re more likely to have a college admissions officer comb over your social media.


Here’s what to do with our social media before applying to college:

  • The most obvious tip is to get rid of photos and videos from your Facebook, Instagram and other platforms that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. That includes underage drinking, drug use or images of a sexual nature (the sexy police Halloween costume is a good candidate for deletion). You don’t have to remove all photos with your friends, but keep in mind what the photos convey. One college admissions officer said they were leery about admitting a student who was brandishing a weapon in a photo.
  • Do keep photos showing your involvement with activities inside and outside of school, including photos of you with any awards or honors you’ve received.
  • Be careful about sharing your political opinions in a way that is constructive, rather than aggressive or disrespectful. Your comments could highlight your knowledge of current events, but they also could display a limited worldview running counter to the open-mindedness many colleges seek.
  • For websites where your handle is particularly important — like Twitter, Instagram or email — keep it professional.

Even if you are confident your social media page won’t be checked, consider that college applications are only the start of your professional life. Prospective employers could review your Facebook and social media.

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