Your social media channels are platforms to express your opinions and jokes, share videos and memes, and tell the world where you went last summer. They show who you are outside of a workplace, and that is why prospective employers use them to learn more about you.
It’s a trend among recruitment specialists and company owners to check the social media profiles of aspiring employees. This way, they can have a glimpse of the applicants’ character, even just their personalities online.
Colleges and universities have also started practicing this system in assessing applicants. The Harvard Crimson said, in 2017, Harvard University rejected ten applicants for being involved in a Facebook group that shares sexual memes that are, at times, victimizing minority groups. According to the report, the applicants, at one point, called the group “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”.
Is this a matter of invasion of privacy? In most cases, no. Admissions professionals only look up prospective students online if the latter provided their details, and their social media pages are available for public viewing. Otherwise, there will be no “force intrusion” of these accounts.
As a high school senior, college admission is just another reason you should be careful about your social media affairs.
Online Personality vs. College Essay
“The most difficult yet critical part of the application process is finding your story,” says Write Track Admissions. Don’t make the application more difficult by contradicting your essay with your opinions and information on social media.
Many social media users overshare information online: who their friends and family are, what they had for breakfast, where they go to the gym, and at times, biographical information. Availability of their information, which are sometimes private and sensitive, can be used by an admissions professional to see if there are any inconsistencies with the application form.
Of course, details on social media accounts don’t prove much and are not a recommended source of any legal information such as names or addresses (information can be changed any time), but these can be red flags.
Opinions you post online can also make or break your application. How? There may be something you have agreed with on Facebook that you disagreed with on your application essay to impress the admissions officer.
You can prevent this situation by being honest in your application essay and about your political, social, and personal views, especially if you share them on the internet.
Involvement in Discriminatory Acts
Harvard already rejected ten applicants for their sexually and racially offensive online conversations. You don’t want this happening to you – and not only because you are a college applicant, but also because you are a bigger person than that.
It’s a major red flag if an admissions professional reads about your demeaning tweets about women or sees that you liked a Facebook page that promotes violence against children. Besides, these “interests” are highly likely not what you said in your essay.
On the other hand, you reserve the right to have your own political views, whether the admissions officer agrees with you or not. You don’t have to worry so much about being mum on social media, but you have to be careful and kind even online.
Additionally, one of the worst things you can do online is to cyberbully, so don’t involve yourself at all. Cyberbullying is illegal in many states in the US, and your dream school is likely not interested in admitting an offender.
You have all the right to use your social media accounts however you want, but it’s in your best interest to use them wisely. Not only will this help you in your future applications, whether for college or a job, but being a smart internet and social media user can also help you protect your reputation and privacy.