Is it really true? Are your social media channels subject to review by the colleges you are applying to? Most people have some form of social media, such as Snapchat, Instagram and others. Social media is a powerful platform with a variety of uses such as keeping in touch with old friends, providing a form of entertainment, giving you a place to express your thoughts and opinions, and so much more. You can present your unique personality and interests to a variety of people and places on social media. That could include colleges, coaches, and other decision makers for future jobs and internships. So, “do colleges look at your social media?”
College Admissions Decisions and Social Media
Before you apply to college is the time to think about what your online presence tells viewers about you. Some colleges have confirmed they do take your social media presence into consideration during the college application process. However, others state that it is more likely they will take the extra step to look into a social media profile if an individual is being considered for scholarships, financial aid, and/or athletic sponsorships at the college.
Since we can’t say for certain what colleges may or may not take into account on your social media, we suggest it is better to be safe than sorry later. Basically, colleges and companies have the right to look at your social media. Anything you put on the Internet could become available for almost anyone to access it.
What about Internships or Jobs in College?
Once in college, many students want to find an internship or job. Colleges often help their students find valuable internships and jobs. You could attend a job fair at your college, get an interview, and not land the position because of a few irresponsible posts on your social media.
Think about it this way; have you ever met someone new or applied to a job but wanted to learn more information? It’s common for applicants to check out a person’s or a company’s social media, so it’s also common for companies to do the same.
5 Tips to Help Clean Up Your Social Media
What can you do to make sure your social media shows your best side? Try these 5 tips, so you can feel confident in how your social media presences reflect you.
- Your Username/Handle name is a key identifier. Choose something that reflects you accurately and professionally.
- Google yourself. Sounds crazy, but Google just might reveal old (no longer relevant) pictures, profiles, and comments that may have been forgotten.
- Check the privacy settings on all accounts. Although the internet is, in fact, a public place, social media platforms give options to limit the visibility of content to viewers who you do not know.
- Scan your ‘Lists’. Depending on the platform, this may be your ‘Likes’ or ‘Interests’ on Facebook or those you are listed as ‘Following’ on Twitter or Instagram. These are your assumed interests, so make sure they share what you consider part of your college and professional goals.
- A picture is worth 1,000 words. Review the images on all social platforms to ensure there are no inappropriate and irrelevant images. This includes images containing nudity, alcohol, drugs, offensive language or signs.
Show Colleges, Companies, and People How Much You Shine
Pictures from that crazy party, posts with profane language, or having a heated argument on Twitter may give college admission decision makers the wrong impression of you. Use your best judgment while on social media just as you would if you were talking to someone in person.
You want to show anyone who may be looking at your social media that you’re ready for college or that great internship. Social media can help you, too. On social media, you can do the following:
- Demonstrate that you’re serious about your future
- Connect with influential people
- Participate in learning more about the colleges and careers that interest you
- Stay positive in your posts
Remember, anyone can view your profile at any time, including those who could play an influential role in your future. Think before you speak, or better yet – think before you post! Happy posting!
About Rebecca Wilcox
Rebecca Wilcox is the former Social Media Strategist in USF’s Office of Innovative Education. She enjoys helping students, their families and counselors connect with USF.