Is Your Facebook Profile Part of Your College Application?

Do college admissions officers look at your Facebook page and Twitter posts?  The short answer is a resounding “Yes.” It may be a surprise to find out who views your social media pages, and how your posted information can change their mind about you, so be careful when posting personal information.

So before you post that picture of you at the keg party or tweet about how boring your AP Physics teacher is, consider who might be reading.  A recent New York Times article cites the following numbers:

  • Of 381 college admissions officers, 31 percent said they had viewed an applicant’s Facebook page or other social media posts, up 5 percent from last year.
  • Thirty percent of those admissions officers said they read something that hurt an applicant’s prospects of gaining admission.

Yikes! Be thoughtful about what you post online.  Once a picture or tweet is out there on the web, it is next to impossible to put the horse back in the barn, so to speak.   Before you post or tweet, remember – this is a permanent, written record of you, your  thoughts, your actions, and what you are proud enough of to show the world.  Ask yourself if your post really represents you well.

We are all multifaceted creatures capable of saying and doing beautiful and regrettable things.  Technology has enabled us to make a digital record of the good, the bad, and the ugly for all to see.  Use it to your advantage and put your best foot forward

A few pointers:

  1. Don’t post anything drug or alcohol related.  This seems obvious, but you never know what will seem like a good idea “at the time.”  Even if it’s legal in Colorado and Washington, it doesn’t mean it will impress anybody or that you want it out there for all to see.
  2. We all need to rant and do some good old fashioned hating sometimes – it is part of being human.  Don’t commit it to print!  Rant out load to a friend, parent, pet, or even a plant.
  3. Avoid getting embroiled in brutal online arguments or trash-talking.  Often times, there is no winner in these fights and you may come across as a pompous, self-righteous jerk.
  4. Perhaps even better, before you post ask yourself, “Am I proud of this?”  If so, post away!  If not, maybe give yourself a few minutes before you commit something to the web that you may come to regret.  The web never forgets…
  5. If you’ve already committed a faux pas or two, deactivate your Facebook and Twitter accounts the second half of senior year or change the name on your account so that you’re not so easily identifiable.  Update your security settings so that your pictures and posts are only visible to friends and people you want to have seeing that content.

Working on your applications? Our experienced college admissions consultants will work with you to find the schools that best fit you, help you apply, and maximize your chances of landing a significant financial aid package. Be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Beau Borrero is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor and college admissions consultant based in Washington. Beau has experienced first hand what a great SAT teacher can do for a motivated student, and he has a true passion for teaching students how to smack down the SAT. While at Yale, Beau played drums and sang in various funk bands, majored in Latin and Greek Literature, and ran the New York Times distribution service for the Yale campus.