Some think that social media can only be harmful to students applying to college, seeking jobs, or exploring scholarship opportunities. An endless stream of articles on the internet suggests getting rid of your social media account altogether.
Fortunately, there are other creative options that will allow you to maintain a social presence online while presenting your best self to college admissions boards. By striking the right balance between personal and professional, you can use social media to portray yourself as the ideal candidate to the college of your choice.
Express your enthusiasm. If you’re like most high school students, you’re really excited about your upcoming transition to college—so why not show it? Why it may seem unlikely that college admissions counselors are viewing your social media profiles, it is happening more and more, so try expressing your school spirit online.
Post photographs of you in school gear, on campus, holding your application, etc. You’ll prove to your college that you’re excited, enthusiastic, and ready to move in!
Link to thoughtful article. While many people use social media as a personal soapbox, college admissions counselors might like to see you engaging in academia outside a formal setting. By posting articles about issues you care about (especially as they relate to your educational experience), you prove that you are engaged in a larger world and concerned about things happening outside of yourself.
Avoid aggressive, negative, and offensive articles, but don’t be afraid to present your beliefs in a thoughtful, articulate way.
Complete your profile. No, we’re not talking about that lengthy album of selfies you’ve regretfully neglected this summer—but there is room to update your profiles to reflect your larger self. Depending on the social media outlet, you may be able list past and present jobs, books you enjoy, or causes you’re passionate about.
Take the time to complete your profile to reflect the reasons you might be right for a particular college.
Curate your photographs . Sure, a family bbq may well be worth photographing and, while it won’t negatively influence a college’s perception of you, it won’t do much to sway them either. Social media is, at it’s core, a carefully curated version of ourselves we choose to present to the world, so take that a step further.
If you’re actively involved in community service, leadership activities, or meaningful employment, snap a few photographs and post them for your friends, families, and college admissions committees to enjoy. Comment or caption with relevant material about how the experience has impacted your life, decision making, or personal growth.
The bottom line. If there’s some question about the appropriateness of what you’re posting, you may not want to post it. Alternatively, you can adjust your privacy settings, but you would be wise to continue posting with some caution. Think of ways you will make your grandmother proud—and make them a part of your social media profile.
College admissions procedures aren’t what they were even ten years ago, and that’s okay. By paying careful attention to the image you’re presenting to the world (even the online one), you won’t jeopardize your chances at a particular school and—better yet—you just might impress them.