According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 College Admissions Officers Survey, 31% of college admission officers check social media to determine if an applicant would be a good fit. Kaplan's 2012 College Admissions Officers Survey found that 27% of admissions officers Googled an applicant to learn more about them, and of those admissions officers 35% found something about the applicant that negatively impacted their application. So it is very important for students to think about how they are portraying themselves online.
It is important that prospective college students use social media effectively and responsibly to secure admissions to the colleges that interest them. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Check your profile pictures.
No matter what type of social media account you have (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) your profile picture is public. In some cases, like Facebook, your old profile pictures are public as well. So make sure your profile pictures are appropriate and conveying an image of yourself you would want anyone to see.
2. Delete anything inappropriate.
If there are photos, posts, tweets, videos, etc. that you wouldn't want your mother to see, then it's time to clean up your social media accounts. Don't forget to go through any groups you are a part of as well. If you would not feel comfortable listing your membership in a group on your applications and resume then consider removing yourself from that group altogether.
3. Be careful about what you write online.
Don’t write anything that you wouldn't want an admissions officer to read. Avoid using foul language or inappropriate references and keep in mind that people outside of your following may also be reading what you write online.
As long as social media is being used by prospective students for communication, colleges will continue to turn to it for information about their applicants. So use social media to your advantage. Give college admissions officers an idea of who you are by using it to communicate positively. You could even use social media to build relationships with the colleges as well. Whatever way you're using social media, make sure you are doing so responsibly.