Social Media: Let it work for you not against you

Post By: COYD Staff

facebook college admissionsFacebook, Twitter, MySpace… just a few social networking sites out there that allow you to connect with your friends and family online. Nowadays, people use social media for business, and admission officers are also using it in the admissions process. In 2008, Kaplan conducted a survey of 320 admissions officers from the nation’s top colleges, and 10% of the admissions officers acknowledged looking at social-networking sites to evaluate their applicants. 25% of those admissions officers said their viewing of the applicants’ sites generally had a positive impact on their evaluation. However, a greater percentage (38%) said these sites generally had a negative impact on their admissions evaluation.

These numbers show that social media can ruin your chances of getting into a college regardless of an excellent application. So in order to prevent this, let’s discuss things a student should do when it comes to social media.

1. Google yourself

Most of you have already done this. If you haven’t, it’s important to know what’s out there online about you.
In the private sector, companies spend thousands of dollars on what they call online brand management. They ar essentially making sure that they have a good online image. Like I’ve said before, a college applicant is “marketing” and “selling” themselves to the admissions office the same way a company is marketing and selling their product to the public. So maintaining a favorable online image is a crucial component of creating a solid brand, one that will get you admitted to the college of your choice.

I would suggest Googling your full name and see what’s out there online about you. Go at least 10 pages deep to make sure you don’t have anything that’s detrimental to your brand. The key to branding is understanding your audience. So in your case, put yourself in the admissions officer’s shoes when you search yourself.

2. Create a “professional” or benign e-mail address that you use for college applications.

If you have any doubts about your e-mail address, you probably want to change it to something more benign. A boring and benign e-mail address will not hurt your chances of admission, but an outrageous e-mail address will; so if you can’t think of one that’s professional, just put one that’s boring and benign.

3. Adjust your privacy settings for Facebook and Twitter.

Make sure your Facebook profile is set to private if you don’t want admissions officers to take a look at your Facebook profile. If you want to use your profile to enhance your brand, be smart about it. A picture is worth a thousand words so your Facebook profile could help your application. Pictures that show you in a leadership role, volunteering, or playing sports can personalize your application and put a face to a name for an admissions officer.

However, I would suggest keeping your tagged photos private. You never know who might tag a picture that could be detrimental to your application. There are privacy settings in Facebook that allow you to just show the photos that you post. I would highly suggest this privacy option.

I would suggest protecting your tweets on your Twitter settings.

4. Think twice before uploading video to YouTube.

5. Don’t ‘friend’ an admissions officer on Facebook unless they friend you first.

6. If you have any doubts, show your Facebook profile to someone you respect, like a parent, guidance counselor, a mentor, or a teacher.

Remember, it only takes one detrimental comment or unprofessional picture to cast a negative shadow over your whole application.


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