I have it on good authority that 36% of admissions officers check social media pages when considering your college application, according to a 2020 survey by the Kaplan test company. And a full 65 percent of AOs think that checking an applicant’s social media feeds is a perfectly reasonable form of information gathering.
What does this mean? It’s a good idea to know this as you post on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and even the disappearing Snapchat. Before you start applying is a good time to clean up your act and your posts.
This piece from the NYTimes is a few years old, but still relevant. In 2017, Harvard rescinded acceptances to “at least 10” (ten!) students once they were accepted because of offensive behavior on a PRIVATE Facebook page – with no chance of appeal. What you do online matters!
I’d hope that expectations of what to post and what to avoid would be obvious, but in case they aren’t, here are some guidelines. Parents, if you’re reading this, please share with your high school students.
Don’t use profanity, don’t insult others, don’t say anything that could be interpreted as sexist, racist, homophobic, or insulting to a religion or a group of people.
Don’t send sexts of yourself, even if you think they are going to an individual. I have read more stories than I can count about kids sending private photos that end up on social media accounts and go viral.
Don’t insult teachers or your school.
Don’t suggest any violent activity, even in jest.
Don’t post photos of yourself doing illegal drugs and don’t make reference to them.
If you have posts that might fall under any of these categories, delete them.
If you’re worried about your social media pages, clean them up, delete the accounts, and behave in the future. If you’ve posted something that’s on the edge and you’re not sure how offensive it might be — err on the side of Take It Down.
You’ll have plenty of time to debate the boundaries of free speech in college.
Other Admissions Resources
My website is packed with college application resources of all kinds. Please take a stroll around. You might be interested in “The College Admissions Essay Prompts Are Your Friends,” and why I love the prompts right here.
To find out more about how I can help you strengthen your college applications, please click here.
To learn more about my values as a coach, please click here.
If you’re interested, I can help with college selection.
For information about merit aid in college applications, please read this.
And make sure that college admissions officers who check your social media find nothing objectionable.
And thanks for stopping by.