Manage Your Social Media Presence
I’m often asked how, or even whether, students applying to college should manage their social media presence.
It’s a prudent question. Schools can check your public online presence, and the rising trend is that they increasingly do.
Is it a certainty that the schools you apply to will seek out and scrutinize your social media accounts? Of course not! However, schools presently do check frequently enough that you should be proactive and prepared.
Below are two quick tips that every applicant should consider, immediately!
First, identify and mitigate any risky online presence you may have on line (especially Facebook and Instagram).
Second, feature an easily manageable positive social media presence (LinkedIn is an excellent choice).
There are of course other steps one may take, but as this is meant to be a brief post I will keep the advice limited to the following two.
Note: The first is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the second!!
Make Facebook & Instagram Private
I advise all of my students to make Facebook and Instagram private when submitting college applications.
Facebook profiles are rarely flattering, often potentially unflattering, nearly impossible to scrub. Instagram profiles often contain random silliness, and sometimes worse. Both are hence riddled with risk.
Don’t take any chances that something you believe to be silly will be interpreted admissions personnel as egregiously offensive. You may be right; it may be innocuous. But the power dynamic isn’t equivalent at the moment. When it comes to getting accepted, their opinions of you matter more than your opinions of you.
Mitigate the risk. Go private. You can go back to being public later.
Open a LinkedIn Account
If you want to establish a positive, flattering online presence, LinkedIn is an excellent place to start.
LinkedIn accounts are simple to keep clean, primarily because the professional culture doesn’t encourage less thoughtful engagement.
In short, just about everyone wants to look good (or at least professional) on LinkedIn. Consequently, potentially risky silliness is far less likely to spill over into your profile, because such silliness just isn’t very common on the site.