You are part of the social media generation. Like many in high school, you chronicle much of your everyday life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for friends and family to see. Colleges are also watching. Will they genuinely like what they see and recommend you for admission, or will they be concerned?
Beyond shaping your college application, you can also control what college admissions officers see via privacy settings and common sense when it comes to social media. Rather than feeling upset that schools are looking over your shoulder, view it as an opportunity. Perhaps on top of admission you are seeking a merit scholarship. Social media can help you stand out from the crowd.
Share via your pictures, posts and tweets your demonstrated interest in schools. Like their Facebook page, join Class of 2021 groups for the college, and post pictures of your campus tour or you sporting their merchandise. Just make sure you are genuine. Consider re-tweeting or posting interesting stories or pictures of the college.
Highlight your accomplishments. If it was important enough to be part of your college application, perhaps share it on social media. Enable the admissions officer to learn more about your awards, interests and participation in the arts and sports. Pictures of you performing, scoring, even celebrating can make you memorable. Show what you are passionate about, including travel and perhaps even your hobbies. Share your love of family, friends and pets. Visually, this can bring your story to life and provide insight of how you will be a valued member on campus and be a good roommate.
Some students take the opposite approach and try and hide their online presence with a fake name or persona during the admissions process. Please recognize this can raise red flags and colleges might wonder what these applicants are hiding. Perhaps it is inappropriate language and questionable behavior. Rather than hide your profile simply do not post photos of red solo cups, underage drinking, or drug culture. Do not post about bullying others or hateful comments. Don’t mock your campus tour guide, your interviewer, or complain about the college application process. Refrain from sharing risqué photos. If it is something that could get you in trouble at high school, embarrass your family, or enrage others, be smart and do not post it on social media.
So before you take that selfie, share what you ate for dinner, or rant about what angers you, remember colleges are watching. You have worked hard to achieve solid grades and scores, written great college essays, and secured strong recommendations. Utilize Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stand out, but only in a good way, so admissions officers will advocate for your admission.