Having clean and professional social media profiles is important for students who are going through the college admissions process. Since social media has become an integral part of our society, admissions counselors are using it to get an idea of the character of students. According to a Kaplan Test Prep Survey of over 350 different college admissions counselors, 35 percent claim that they use social media profiles to assess applicants. Here are some tips to help you clean up your online presence:
Evaluate your profile
Before your profiles are seen by admissions counselors, you should know what’s on your pages. Go through each of your profiles and evaluate everything you posted, as well as anything you are tagged in. If there is something on one of your profiles that may be misinterpreted or that doesn’t represent you well, delete it or untag yourself from it. Knowing what is on your profile will ease your mind when you know admissions counselors may be viewing it.
Think like an admissions counselor
When going through your profile, you need to consider what the admission counselor will be looking for and what will hurt your chances of getting in. While you might not personally have a problem with something on your profile, you need to consider how someone else will see it and if they could potentially interpret it differently than it was intended.
Change your settings
There are some settings that you can adjust on your profile to make sure you are portraying yourself in the best light. The first setting to change is your privacy setting. Update your privacy settings so that only your friends or your followers can see what you post. This will save you some worry as well as demonstrate to colleges that you are taking measures to ensure internet safety.
Another setting that you should consider changing on Facebook specifically is the review posts setting. This setting changes your profile so that you will receive a notification every time you are tagged in something. Then, you are able to review the post before it shows up on your timeline and confirm or deny the post from being visible on your profile.
Post accomplishments and updates
Kaplan’s study found that admissions counselors don’t use social media just to see negative aspects of students, but also to get a better sense of a student’s personality and accomplishments. Some social profiles even improved the opinion of the admissions counselors in the study, especially when students had mentioned their extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities and work outside of school. Just because colleges may be looking at your profile doesn’t mean that you should be afraid to post. It just means that you should be thoughtful about what is being posted.
Tell the truth
Always tell the truth on your college applications and on your social profiles. If you are lying about your past on your application, or lying about who you are on social media, counselors (as well as others in your life) may have difficulty trusting you. Be upfront with admissions counselors and don’t put them in a difficult position where your social media profiles tell a different story than your applications.
When applying for college, your social profiles are an important aspect of your application. While there are many colleges that don’t even try to find you on social media, there are others that make decisions based on what you post online. During the admissions process, it is better to be safe than sorry, so make sure that your social media is appropriate for the colleges where you are applying and represent who you are as a person.
Of course, when talking about online accounts, there’s one that you’ll definitely want to update! That’s your College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC.org) account. As you review your social media profiles, also take a minute to make sure that your CFNC profile is up-to-date so that you are well organized and prepared when it comes time to apply for college.