The World Wide Web will be 25 years old on March 12. The smartphone is 26. Facebook turned 14 on February 4. The iPhone is 11. While still young, social media becoming a preferred way to communicate, even when applying to college.
A 2017 PewResearchCenter survey reports that Americans have increased their engagement of social media - from 5 percent in 2005 to 69 percent today. Social networking sites like Facebook are used 3 times more than microblogs like Twitter and Instagram. Among the five platforms studied, 76% of users check Facebook every day (up 5 percent since 2015). Teenagers make up 61 percent of Tumblr users and growing. This is why social media is being used to recruit potential students.
ARE YOU A GOOD FIT FOR THEM?
College admissions officers are engaging potential students on social media. They are viewing your profiles. Christine Koening surveyed colleges within 150 miles of Chicago and learned that 89 percent of admissions officers viewed students' social media. When I posted a photo along with a caption saying I was visiting the University of Oklahoma campus, I received 6 retweets and 19 favorites before my tour ended. A few even reached out to say hello. Talk about engaged!
Some Ivy League colleges use social media to boost their applications. Colleges are posting more pictures and videos so students can imagine themselves on campus. They are answering questions relating to the social and emotional life on campus allowing students to make informed decisions.
ARE THEY A GOOD FIT FOR YOU?
When you are researching colleges on social media, don’t just focus on the strengths of the college. Each college is going to present itself at its best, just like you. Engage with them. Ask what makes them stand out. Find out how they are resolving their challenges. Savvy students need to discover the truth before committing 4-6 years of their life to a university. And if you are not able to connect and engage with people on the college you’re interested in, it may not be the right college for you.
Since social media is a way for teenagers to express themselves, potential employers and colleges will dedicate time to review your feeds, So you should be aware of a few things regarding your social footprint. Being comfortable on social media gives some a tendency to say and share things publicly that may have kept private otherwise. Admissions officers are measuring your application against your public thoughts. The University of Oklahoma will view your social media if you are being considered for a scholarship.
Admissions officers may question the judgment of potential students who takes the time to post disparaging remarks. In Natasha Singer's article, They Loved Your GPA Then They Saw Your Tweets, she reported that “30% of the admissions officers said they had discovered information online that had negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.”
Here are some steps you can take to improve your social media footprint:
A former student, who was applying for a master’s level program, asked me to write a letter of recommendation. Before I wrote what I knew about his character, I reviewed his social media presence. After a brief conversation with him about the content of this photos and posts, he quickly untagged himself from pictures of places he’d never visited. He was accepted.
Will you be accepted? What impression is your social media footprint leaving when it comes to college admissions? Contact me so I can help you prepare for college.
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.