Do Colleges Check Your Social Media?

College student typing on their laptop.

Flickr user hackNY.org

Do colleges check your social media?  According to a recent Kaplan survey, 68% of admissions officers say that viewing a prospective student’s social media pages is “fair game.” The profiles are public, after all, and reviewing social media can reveal just who that student is.

So, do colleges check your social media? Yes. In fact, what students post on social media can greatly affect not only acceptance odds, but they can get acceptances revoked if unsuitable and offensive material is found. A now-infamous example happened with 10 students who were accepted to Harvard and were then denied admission once their wildly inappropriate Facebook group was discovered.

So Will Admissions Look at My Profiles?

Despite all this, the percentage of admissions officers that investigate a student’s social media has actually decreased in recent years, according to Kaplan. It was 40% in 2015 but is down to 29% nowadays.

What does that mean? Well, you won’t know for sure if the admissions authorities will look at your social media account. It is best to stay on the safe side. Here are a few things you can do to clean up your social media accounts.

Mind Yourself on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Just because Facebook asks you, ‘What’s on your mind?’ doesn’t mean you need to answer it every time you log in. We’ve all had that moment when we feel the need to rant about an unfair teacher or situation. Or, we feel we just have to post that hilarious photograph from that last party. 

Blowing off steam on occasion is one thing. But students have lost athletic and academic scholarships because of controversial pictures, videos, and statuses they have posted on social media. Don’t risk it. Your future and college finances are too important to simply throw away.

Only Post YouTube and TikTok Videos That Showcase Your Skills & Talents

YouTube is a great platform for those who love making and posting videos of all types, from step-by-step tutorials to showcasing their love for film, art, dance or debate. YouTube can feature and showcase your talent. You may even use some of your YouTube presentations and videos as part of your college entrance interview. Just make sure there isn’t anything posted within your channel or on that platform that may work against you,or keep you from getting into the school of your dreams.

Simple, clean, and potentially professional is the profile you want to showcase with any social media platforms. Think before you post anything on social media. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face or do it in public, you probably shouldn’t be bragging about it or posting it on social media either.

What Should You Remove off Your Social Media?

Remove any messages, images, or videos under your name that are hateful, showcase illegal activities, or are otherwise insensitive or offensive content. It could very well affect your acceptance chances.

It’s best to never post this type of material in the first place. Things you put on the internet are never truly gone. However, if you’ve posted some questionable images or content in the past, you should be going through and removing them. This includes any images that showcase you in a negative light even if you weren’t doing anything “illegal” or messages that could be taken out of context. You don’t want innocent photos or messages being misinterpreted.

But note: even if you’ve been accepted to a college, this does not mean you are free to start posting questionable or offensive material. Colleges have and will revoke acceptance offers in these cases.

To comb through your social media, you should check

  • Your posts
  • Your replies and comments to others
  • Images, including profile picture, uploaded photos, and banners
  • Profile information
  • For older social media accounts you made when you were younger
  • The accounts, lists, or pages you follow

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