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How Can Social Media Improve Your Chances of Getting into College

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    As a college applicant, it’s important to reflect on your internet presence and determine what it says about you. Especially when it comes to social media. After all, social media can be very telling of a person’s interests, passions, and values. For that reason, social media is often reviewed during the college application process.

    Social media for students can be a powerful tool. One that can either help or harm your college applications. This is why it’s crucial to learn about social media etiquette for students. Thankfully, there are lots of tips and guidelines to help transform your social media accounts into something you can be proud of.

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    Do colleges look at social media?

    So, do colleges check social media? According to a survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep in 2018, 68% of college admissions officers think it’s “fair game” to look at applicants’ social media accounts but only a third routinely do so.

    Why do colleges look at your social media? Social media can be very telling of a person’s values, interests, and personality. It can also give colleges another perspective on an applicant. In short, social media has the potential to both help and harm applicants’ chances of acceptance. This is why social media etiquette for students is so important.

    If you’re a high school freshman or sophomore wondering When To Start Planning For College, get in the habit of monitoring your social media accounts early. This will only help you in the long run!

    Social media guidelines for students

    college students Most individuals believe that keeping social media profiles private is sufficient to maintain a positive internet presence. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that nothing on the internet is truly private. In fact, Harvard rescinded 10 freshman offers in 2017 after they reportedly made racist comments in a private Facebook group.

    In this article, we will review social media rules for students. We will also share tips on how to use social media to your advantage during the college application process.

    What to avoid on social media

    There are a few social media rules for students college applicants should keep in mind. First, don’t post evidence of illegal activities, including drug and alcohol use. Second, don’t post hateful, discriminatory, or offensive content. These are good rules to follow in general. After all, college admissions officers aren’t the only ones who might be interested in your online presence. Employers routinely look into applicants’ social media accounts as well.

    As you evaluate your online presence and social media accounts, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Would you feel comfortable showing your parents, or other close family members, your social media accounts?
    • Is there anything you wouldn’t want a college admissions officer to see?
    • Do any of your posts or comments contain offensive or discriminatory language?
    • Is there excessive profanity in your posts and comments?
    • Do any of your posts reference illegal activities, such as drug use or underage drinking?
    • Do any of your posts include sexualized content?

    Now that you’ve asked yourself these preliminary questions, it’s time to evaluate your social media presence more thoroughly. While your actual posts will be the easiest to search, you’ll also want to keep an eye on:

    • Accounts you follow: Unfollow accounts with offensive content.
    • Posts you’ve liked: Unlike any offensive or inappropriate posts you’ve liked in the past.
    • Comments you’ve made: Delete any offensive or inappropriate comments. Consider removing comments with jokes or sarcasm that could be misunderstood.
    • Posts you’ve been tagged in: Untag yourself in posts with offensive or inappropriate content.

    Tips for making a good first impression on social media

    Social media awareness for students helps applicants determine what is and is not appropriate to post online. Now that we’ve discussed some things to avoid, here are a few tips to make sure you’re on track to creating a positive and professional online presence:

    • Make your social account settings private. This is the most common way to keep your accounts but limit the viewers. Every social media outlet has the option to hide your account from the public and keep it visible to just friends or followers. Consider this option if you’re active on social media and don’t want to start from scratch.

    • Delete old messages/tweets that contain sensitive content. Remember that the college admissions process is like a job interview. You’re selling yourself. Make sure that all the information found on you is positive and professional.
    • Create new social media accounts. Sometimes your social media accounts can contain too much old and/or unprofessional content to clean up. Creating a new account and deleting that account can ease the process.
    • Professional profile pictures. Once you make your accounts private, admissions officers will still be able to see your profile picture. Make sure your profile picture is something you’d want them to see and not a picture of you and your friends at a party.

    Using social media to your advantage

    Social media doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Before you go ahead and make all of your social media accounts private, it’s important to realize there are social media benefits to students as well. Now, let’s take a closer look at how to use social media to your advantage during the admissions process:

    • Routinely post about your passions, interests, and extracurricular activities. If you’ve been working on a passion project, post updates!

    • College admissions counselors value applicants who engage in volunteer opportunities. So if you’re involved in a volunteer project, post about it.
    • Follow accounts related to your educational and professional interests. For example, if you’re an aspiring writer, follow some of your favorite writers and publishers on social media.
    • Create a LinkedIn Profile, highlighting your accomplishments and professional interests. Admissions officers will be impressed by your sense of initiative and professionalism.
    • College admissions officers value applicants who spend their time productively, both inside and outside the classroom. Posting about your summer activities is a great way to demonstrate commitment towards your extracurriculars.

    • Follow the colleges you are applying to on social media. Like and comment on posts. Tag the school in your own posts. This will help demonstrate your interest in attending. Avoid showing too much favoritism to any one particular school, though, as it may be off-putting to other schools you are applying to.

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    College admissions are incredibly competitive. This is why admissions officers are looking for any reason to tip the scale one way or the other. Give them a reason to tip the scale in your favor by creating a positive social media presence. Highlight your interests, passions, and accomplishments. Rather than worry about social media hurting your chances of getting into college, transform your accounts into something positive!

    If you need help navigating your college applications, reach out to learn more about how Prepory and its team of experts can help. In the meantime, check out our articles: How to Prepare for SAT or ACT Test Day and How To Get Into University of Pennsylvania.

    Contact a Prepory college admissions coach and start your college admissions journey.

    Our college admissions experts are here to guide you from where you are to where you should be. Through our comprehensive curriculum, individualized coaching, and online workshops, you are set for success as soon as you connect with us.

    During our initial consultation, we will: 

    • Assess your student’s applicant profile and higher education goals 
    • Provide detailed information about our services and programming
    • Share tips on how to navigate the U.S. college admissions process 

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