The general rule of thumb when posting something on social media is not to post anything that you don’t want your mother or grandmother to see.
Guidance counselors warned college applicants to be wary of what they post on social media. If you’re applying to Harvard University, don’t be like these students whose admissions were revoked because of offensive Facebook posts.
But not all colleges rescind admission because of online offenses. However, more and more colleges are using social media in evaluating college applicants.
Online scrutiny of applicants for college is increasing. College admissions officers stated that they check Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to know more about their applicants.
To improve your chances of being accepted, here are some ways to ensure that college admissions officers will like what they see on your social media accounts.
1. Clean your social media accounts
It doesn’t mean that you should delete your social media accounts. Instead, review your posts and photos. If there are things that showed you’re doing anything illegal or offensive, then remove them.
And not just your photos or posts. Review the links and pages you liked. And unlike them, when necessary. You can do all of these things on your other social media accounts, like Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media.
If you like posting selfies, you might want to remove them all, so you don’t look conceited. You want to show the admission officers that there’s so much more to you than your face or abs.
2. Remove tags
After cleaning your pages, you should also remove all tags from your friends. It’s especially true if your friends posted photos that aren’t safe for college admissions and they tagged you in them. Scour and remove those controversial photos. Even if they don’t show up on your page, you must still untag yourself.
3. Never brag about wrongdoing
College admissions officers don’t check the social media accounts of prospective students routinely. Although very rare, there are occasions that they do check them out. It’s especially true if the subject is serious enough.
4. Edit your social media usernames
Your current usernames might be funny, and they look good to your family and friends. But they might send the wrong message to some people, especially college admission officers. Thus, edit them to make them look and sound professional.
Apart from deleting your inappropriate posts or photos, you should also consider being mindful of how you treat others online. If you are fond of making lewd comments or trolling other accounts, you should delete them. They could affect your college application.
5. Check Google
Some admissions officers are using Google to know more about their applicants. Thus, you should do it, too. No matter how careful you are about what you post on your social media accounts, you may still be surprised at what might pop up.
If you found something that might hurt your reputation, you should remove it. Now, if you couldn’t remove it yourself, make sure to ask the owner of the site to take it down.
You can also stop the search engine from tracking your web activity. To do so, just go to your account and choose “Manage your Google Activity.” It’s located under the Personal info and privacy tab. Once you’re in that tab, you can find the data that Google uses to track you. You can disable this feature by clicking the blue slider icon.
If you wish to be extra cautious, you can delete all your web activities by going to the My Activity page on your Google account. Choose the Delete activity by and click the All-time option. However, if you wish to choose just a specified period, then you can select specific dates in the menu.
6. Opt to use LinkedIn
Having a digital resume is what you need to improve your chances of getting accepted from college. With the help of LinkedIn, you can include all your academic achievements.
Not just your academic activities but also your after-school jobs. By updating your LinkedIn profile and make it look professional, it can help in making your profile stand out.
On your LinkedIn, upload a photo that makes you look approachable and professional. Thus, don’t use a picture with your cat. It’s not the best choice unless you’re applying for a college of a veterinarian.
7. Share the good stuff
Although you need to get rid of those questionable posts, it doesn’t mean that you need to stop posting online. Instead, use your social media posts to your advantage by sharing only the good stuff.
You can share your photos showing your volunteer work. If you wrote an article on an authority site, you could add links to that article. What you need here is to show your talents, skills, and passions.
8. Clean your profiles regularly
Don’t stop scrubbing your profiles. It’s beneficial to avoid leaving a less-than-stellar profile that an admission officer can see.
And even after graduating from college and you’re applying to a graduate school, it’s still vital that you continue making your social media profiles look good.
Keep in mind that graduate admissions do look at online profiles. Thus, untag yourself from the photos of your friends’ keg party. Graduate schools are looking for students who are more professional.
Before posting anything, make sure that it’s college material. In that way, if a college admissions officer reads your profile and sees your status update, the post must be a positive reflection of yourself.
In all your posts, you have to be seen as level-headed. Since you’re applying for college, you must maintain excellent spelling and grammar. When making a comment or opinion, ensure that it’s backed up with facts and analysis.
And if you think that not everyone needs to read your post or comment, then it’s better not to post it. When you share some personal news, use the right words. Don’t appear as a bragger, especially if you’re posting about your achievements.