Did you know that colleges often check your social media if you applied to their school? The things you post there could greatly impact your admissions chances, so it’s important to take steps to make your social media work for you rather than against you. Here’s a checklist of how to use social media wisely for students. It will help you update your profiles, remove questionable material, and craft thoughtful posts.
1. Update Your Profiles
When was the last time you updated your social media profiles? On Twitter, this is just a few lines, but on Facebook, your profile can host a whole wealth of information about where you work, your relationships, interests, and more. Take time to go through each of your social media profiles, update the language, write professionally, and make them a true reflection of the person you want the colleges to see.
This is also a good time to double check privacy settings.
2. Check for Old, Forgotten Accounts
Did you make social media accounts when you were a bit younger? These could come back to bite you! If you know the account information, log in and either clean up the information or delete it entirely if it’s no longer relevant or useful to you.
It’s also a good idea to do a quick Google search of yourself. This may turn up other social media or online accounts you didn’t realize you had.
3. Remove Questionable Material
Next, you’ll want to go through your social media accounts and remove any questionable material. This means any posts, images, replies, or comments that are hateful, rude, or insensitive. If you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, TAKE IT DOWN!
Removing questionable social media includes removing posts that may be taken out of context. This could refer to inside jokes you made with friends – how would it come across to someone outside of your party? You should check images as well. These could be presenting the wrong picture. For example, if you are holding a red plastic cup in a picture, even though you know there was water or soda in it, will the college admissions officer think something else?
4. Publish Well Thought Out Material
Going forward, be thoughtful about what you post. Be a thought leader. If you are captain of the volleyball team, share posts on volleyball news or new techniques. If you have hobbies and interests, you can share, like or respectfully comment on posts about that hobby.
Or you can start publishing posts and images that you curate. You could post things including:
- Life updates (achievements, loss, family events, etc)
- Respectful and well-presented opinions
- Photos or information about your participation in volunteer work, clubs, sports, or other extracurriculars
- Positive details about your work
- Information about the schools you wish to attend
Publishing well thought out, respectful social media shows a potential college and or employer that you are mature and still have some great personality.
5. Check Who You’re Following
You should also take time to check out who you’re following on social media. Are you getting updates from questionable accounts? Look into pages you’ve liked on Facebook, accounts you follow on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, and lists you may be following on various sites.
Instead, fill your follow lists with positive people and influences, colleges you’re interested in, your passions, and other pages that are relevant to you. (Did you know you can like us on Facebook?)
6. Keep It Up!
Your social media pages are ever changing, so you should always give thought to what you’re posting and following. And just because you received an acceptance letter to a college, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. In fact, colleges will often rescind those offers if you post questionable material!
If you love social media, that’s okay. Just make sure to make it work for you and not against you!