YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A lot of high school students are on social media, but it’s not just friends who are looking; colleges are looking, too.
Some posts help or hurt a student’s chances of getting into the school they want.
A new survey by Kaplan Test Prep shows that at least 35 percent of admissions officers will check out an applicant’s social media account before making a decision.
A lot of young people have Facebook or Twitter, and colleges can see if you’re posting negative things about another person or maybe a teacher or if you have inappropriate content on your account.
YSU students Sarah Davis and Karen Leal say students need to be very careful about what they post and think about their audience.
“I always try to keep in mind that what I post reflects me and other people. Employers or colleges will look at it and see what I am doing,” Davis said.
Leal says she doesn’t have a social media account, specifically for privacy reasons.
“If you know as you’re typing or taking this picture you know is not right or is going to make others upset, then don’t do it,” Leal said. “Honestly, be careful because that stuff can really get you in the future.”
Admission counselors for colleges sometimes need to look beyond the application, and social media is a good way to do that. Colleges aren’t looking to dig up dirt, but use the information to create a broad picture of a student and highlight positive qualities.
Posts counselors look for are extracurricular activities, volunteer work, anything that highlights positive attributes.
What exactly are the kinds of things admissions officers say they have found that positively impacted applicants’ admissions chances? It ranged from community building to winning awards:
- One admissions officer said, “One student described on Twitter that she facilitated an LGBTQ panel for her school, which wasn’t in her application. This made us more interested in her overall and encouraged us to imagine how she would help out the community.”
- Another admissions officer shared, “There’s such a negative stereotype of social media that people often forget about the positive effects of it. One student had won an award and had a picture with their principal on their personal page, and it was nice to see.”
- “One young lady started a company with her mom, so it was cool to visit
their website,” added another admissions officer.
Some of the things college admissions officers found that negatively impacted applicants’ admissions chances ranged from bigotry to illegal activity.
- “We found a student’s Twitter account with some really questionable language. It wasn’t quite racist, but it showed a cluelessness that you’d expect of a privileged student who hadn’t seen much of the world. It really ran counter to the rest of her application,” said one admissions officer.
- “A young man who had been involved in a felony did not disclose his past, which is part of our admissions process. His social media page shared his whole story. If he had been forthcoming, we would not have rescinded his acceptance offer, but we had to.”
- One admissions officer said that pictures of a student “brandishing weapons” gave him pause when deciding whether to admit the applicant.