The Role of Social Media in College Admissions - What High School Students Should Know

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Kate Sliunkova

AdmitYogi, Stanford MBA & MA in Education

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The Role of Social Media in College Admissions - What High School Students Should Know

As the world becomes more digitally connected, social media has become an integral part of everyday life for many individuals. It is no longer just a platform for sharing personal moments but has evolved to become a tool for communication and self-expression. This evolution has brought about changes in various aspects of society, including college admissions. In this article, we will explore the growing importance of social media in college admissions and what high school students should know to build a positive online presence.

The Growing Importance of Social Media in College Admissions

Traditionally, academic performance and extracurricular activities have been the primary criteria for college admissions. However, with the advent of social media platforms, admissions officers have begun to place a higher emphasis on an applicant's online presence. According to a study conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, over a third of admissions officers review applicants' social media profiles. This trend is likely to continue as social media continues to shape society's norms and behavior.

Why Colleges Look at Social Media Profiles

Colleges examine applicants' social media profiles to gain a deeper understanding of their values, interests, and personality beyond what is presented in their applications. Admissions officers aim to identify applicants who align with the school's culture, values, and academic standards. Social media provides a glimpse into an applicant's life outside of academics and can reveal their potential as leaders on campus. Additionally, colleges also use social media to identify applicants who may pose a risk to the student body's safety.

The Types of Social Media Platforms Colleges Monitor

Admissions officers review applicants' social media profiles on various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a positive online presence across all platforms that you use.

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms, and admissions officers use it to gain a better understanding of an applicant's social life. They look for evidence of community involvement, such as volunteering or participating in community events. They also look for evidence of leadership skills, such as organizing events or leading groups. If an applicant has a public Facebook profile, it is essential to ensure that the content is appropriate and showcases their best qualities.

Twitter is another platform that admissions officers use to gain insight into an applicant's personality and interests. They look for evidence of creativity, humor, and engagement with current events. Additionally, they may look for evidence of inappropriate behavior or language, which could reflect poorly on the applicant.

Instagram is a platform that admissions officers use to gain insight into an applicant's hobbies and interests. They look for evidence of artistic or athletic abilities, as well as involvement in extracurricular activities. They also look for evidence of community involvement and leadership skills. It is essential to ensure that the content on an applicant's Instagram profile is appropriate and showcases their best qualities.

LinkedIn is a platform that admissions officers use to gain insight into an applicant's professional interests and goals. They look for evidence of internships, work experience, and academic achievements. They also look for evidence of leadership skills and community involvement. If an applicant has a LinkedIn profile, it is essential to ensure that the content is professional and showcases their best qualities.

In conclusion, an applicant's online presence is becoming increasingly important in the college admissions process. Admissions officers use social media platforms to gain insight into an applicant's personality, interests, and potential as a leader on campus. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a positive online presence across all platforms that an applicant uses.

How Social Media Can Impact Your College Application

Social media can either positively or negatively impact your college application. Below are some potential effects:

Positive Effects of Social Media on College Admissions

A well-curated social media profile can positively impact your application. For example, a profile that showcases your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and community involvement can demonstrate your potential as a student leader. Additionally, social media can provide a platform to share your talents, achievements, and creativity.

Negative Effects of Social Media on College Admissions

A negative online presence can significantly impact your college admission chances. Inappropriate or offensive content can prompt your application's rejection or lead to the withdrawal of an admission offer. Therefore, it is crucial to be cautious about what you post online and ensure that your private content is protected.

Tips for High School Students to Maintain a Positive Social Media Presence

Conducting a Social Media Audit

The first step to maintaining a positive online presence is to conduct a social media audit. Google yourself and search for your profiles on all active social media accounts. Review your accounts from an admissions officer's perspective and identify any negative content that may harm your application.

Creating a Professional Online Persona

The next step is to create a persona that aligns with your academic and career aspirations. Above all, be authentic and showcase the aspects of your personality that align with the values and culture of your top schools. Use grammar and appropriate vocabulary, and maintain a professional tone in all your posts.

Engaging in Meaningful Online Activities

Joining online communities related to your academic interests or volunteering through social media organizations can demonstrate your commitment to excellence and community service. In addition, creating original content, such as blog articles related to your academic interests, can showcase your research, writing, and analytical skills.

Social Media Do's and Don'ts for College-Bound Students

What to Share on Social Media

Showcase your academic accomplishments, community involvement, and talents. Share content that aligns with your values and highlights your potential as a student leader. Be authentic and demonstrate your personality, hobbies, and interests.

What to Avoid Posting on Social Media

Avoid posting content that is inappropriate, offensive, or controversial. Do not share confidential information related to your school's honors or awards. Additionally, do not misuse social media by bullying, threatening, or harassing someone.

How to Use Social Media to Your Advantage in College Admissions

Showcasing Your Accomplishments and Interests

Use social media to showcase your achievements, talents, and interests. Join clubs and post about your awards, participation, and leadership roles. Additionally, share your creative talents, such as music, artwork, or photography.

Connecting with Colleges and Admissions Officers

Follow the schools you are interested in on their official social media accounts. Engage with their posts, share their content, and ask questions. Additionally, connect with admission officers on LinkedIn and engage in conversations that showcase your potential as a student leader.

Networking with Current Students and Alumni

Join online communities of current students and alumni to get a feel for the school culture and environment. Network with them and ask questions about their experience. Additionally, connect with alumni who have careers that interest you to learn more about their post-college journey.

Conclusion

Social media has become an essential tool in college admissions. A positive online presence can demonstrate your potential as a student leader and significantly impact your admission chances. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a professional and well-curated online persona across all social media platforms. Follow the tips we have outlined and use social media to your advantage.

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