There’s a new piece of the college-admissions puzzle to consider, and it’s all about your social media.
In the current digital era, admissions officers are deftly peeking at your social media to get a more complete picture of the kind of student you would be at their fine institution.
95% of American teenagers have access to a smartphone, with 45% of them saying they are online “almost constantly.”i
Of that online activity, 96% of teenagers watch YouTube videos, 72% go on Instagram every day, and 51% admit to having a Facebook account.ii
Add newcomers Snapchat (60% of American users are under 25 iii ) and TikTok (41% of users are 16–24) to the social media mix, and you can see why college admissions counselors are interested in more than SAT® and ACT® exam scores.
All this attention to your social media presence means that your past and present online activity can actually impact your chance to get into your target college or university. So, with that in mind, here are some questions to ask yourself before posting on your favorite platforms…
What are my security settings set to?
This is more about common sense and personal safety than college admissions, but you should always protect your privacy, especially if you are under 18 years old.
Does my profile name and picture represent me well?
Image matters. A profile name like partyanimal_666 or cantstop_wontstop might cause concern for college admissions officials. And when it comes to profile pictures . . .
Are my pictures appropriate?
Pictures that are lewd, violent, offensive, or in poor taste will not portray you in a good light.
Would I say this in front of my Nana?
Stay away from foul language, divisive rhetoric, and inflammatory comments.
Do I want this on the record?
Likes, retweets, shares, comments — it’s all out there for the world to see. You may not have produced the content, but if you like it, you’re connected to it.
Am I being controversial?
Everyone has the right to express their opinion and that includes you. But an opinion that is extreme or controversial might be off-putting to a college admissions officer.
Is this content reflective of the kind of person I aspire to be?
A positive, thoughtful, fun-loving, educated and motivational social media presence will not only please admissions officials, but it will be an inspiration to everyone who sees it.
Admissions officials do more than check your social media, they check your SAT or ACT scores too. In fact, college readiness exams are the most important criteria for admissions consideration for an overwhelming majority of colleges and universities. UWorld can help you do your best on test day with our unparalleled SAT and ACT test-prep product. Check out a FREE seven-day trial today!