What you post on social media is fair game to an admissions officer. One tweet, post, or snap could mean the difference between an acceptance and a denial.

The use of social media is becoming increasingly common in the admissions process, and I always tell my students that they can never be too careful with how they are presenting themselves online. Just like a future employer may want to run a quick Google search on a prospective employee before making a job offer, a college may very well run a student’s name through Facebook or Instagram before making a decision about that applicant.

You may think that your social media presence is squeaky clean, but think again. Even a simple comment meant as a joke on a friend’s picture could appear when a college runs a Google search on you.

“Well I’m sure the college doesn’t have time to check every student’s Facebook page, so I’m probably fine.”

In most cases, that’s correct. Schools—especially those that receive hundreds of thousands of applications every year—don’t have the time or manpower to review each student’s social media pages before making a decision. But in certain cases, like when an application is teetering between admit and deny, that social media check could be the thing to tip the scale.

Remember: While admissions counselors don’t have time to check every applicant’s Facebook page or Twitter feed, they do have the power to look at yours.

And just because admissions counselors may not be checking your Facebook page, that may not be the case for alumni interviewers. Remember that person you spoke with in a Starbucks during interview season? There’s a good chance that he or she looked you up on Facebook before your interview so that you were easier to find in a public place. If you had anything risky on your page then, it could very well appear in their report…and end up in your admissions packet.

Do yourself a favor and Google your name before you begin submitting applications. Take advantage of the “View As” feature on Facebook and review your page as if you were someone outside of your network. We hope our students don’t ever have anything to clean up, but if you do find yourself in that camp, do what you can to undo anything that could potentially hurt you. And keep it clean moving forward! In rare cases, colleges have been known to rescind an offer of admission because of something they dug up after a student has been accepted. Don’t let this happen to you!

Not all social media activity is bad, however. In fact, maybe you have a post on your Instagram that gives an admissions counselor a glimpse into an activity that you did not have room for on your application. Maybe you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who posts about a business that you run. Maybe you’re an artist who uses Instagram as an online portfolio of sorts. Maybe you’re a hopeful novelist who has an online blog of short stories. If you are going to be active on social media during application season, take advantage of the fact that colleges may be watching you and post about things that could enhance your application.

Happy posting!

Until Next Time,

Molly Monet, PES Student Services Consultant

P.S. College admissions can be a tricky subject with a lot of small decisions leading up to one big decision. A decision that will impact the rest of your life. Having a PES Student Services Consultant is kinda like having a trainer at the gym. You can still go to he gym and you’ll get some results, but you’ll get better results with someone coaching you throughout the process on what and what not to do. To make sure you’re prepared for deadlines and to take a lot of the work off your shoulders. I would love to help simplify the process for you and to help you get into one of your dream schools. If that sounds great then sign up for our Tier 3 Services and let’s tackle the college admissions process together.

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