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Odds are your high school students uses social media. Let’s talk about the role of social media platforms in your student’s college search and admissions process.

Using Social Media As A Tool To Build A College List

You may not have realized, but social media can actually be a great tool for researching colleges. Nearly all college admissions offices have their own social media accounts where they post information about the university and interesting things that occur on campus–like graduation, or cool guest speakers, etc. Following admissions offices on social media can be useful to get more of an inside look into life at a university. Even better can be following teams or student organizations that interest your student. For example, to get an idea of the team cohesion for a sport you might want to play, following the team on Instagram would give you some good data.

Your Student’s Social Media Account And College Admissions

It is also true that some colleges and certainly some college personnel (like coaches and recruiters, for example) use social media to research and vet high school students. For baseball coaches, for example, Twitter is the most important platform from which they learn about prospective student-athletes and follow those athletes’ seasons and accomplishments. And, while it’s not incredibly common, admissions offices can do this, too.

Which means….. It’s probably time for a social media cleanup for your student! Making sure that your students’ social media platforms project a wholesome and professional image is important, so as not to limit their future options. Encourage your student to remove any photos they wouldn’t want a current or future teacher to see, and to be careful about comments that could be perceived as offensive (even if they were not intended to be).

It seems like nearly every spring, a news story breaks, in which students’ offers of admission to selective colleges are rescinded due to behavior that goes against the values of their future university. Remember that colleges expect you to behave according to their values even after you are accepted, and posting anything illegal, unethical, or offensive almost certainly would violate the values of most universities and could be grounds for having admission rescinded.

The Takeaway

Of course, social media isn’t strictly BAD–it can be a fantastic way to connect not just with other people but with institutions that interest you, and a great way to learn more about the components of colleges you might want to attend in the future and even to forge connections with people there. Just be sure that you’re engaging in a way that demonstrates good character!

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