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Can My Social Media Actually Hurt My College Admissions?

Using social media has become an ingrained facet of our lives. When we experience something, our second nature is to post about it to social media. From text posts to photos and videos, we leave a unique trail behind us on social media. Many people get some of their self-worth from social media, loving the attention they get from posts that connect to people.

However, the items that we post to social media can actually be damaging to the college application process. Today, it’s important to approach social media as if everyone in your life, and people you haven’t even met yet, have access to it- because they do. If you’re sharing a lot over several different social media channels, you may have a problem when applying to college and to scholarships. Can my college recruiters see my social media? Unless you have certain privacy measures in place, yes.

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Do College Admissions Officers Actually Look at Social Media Accounts?

Do College Admissions Officers Actually Look at Social Media Accounts_

Do college recruiters look at social media? They do in many cases. This is especially true for colleges that are highly competitive as well as for when they are considering you for a scholarship. In these situations, admissions officers and other important people at the school will want to know more about you as a person. They want to make sure that a deserving person gets the space, and they want to know that you’re serious about school and are not a troublemaker. They may dig into your interests, your social media history, and where you spend your time. Can my social media hurt my college admissions? Absolutely. It all depends on what you post.

What If I Set My Accounts as Private So College Recruiters Can’t See Them?

What If I Set My Accounts as Private So College Recruiters Can’t See Them_

When it comes to the admission board and scholarship personnel, having way too much public information about yourself is just as bad as having all of it hidden. When you have no information about yourself at all on social media, it may seem as if you have something to hide. Having private accounts may be smart in a lot of ways, but it can look suspicious. If you don’t have any social media accounts, it’s a good idea to let the recruiters know this so that it doesn’t look like such a red flag. You can mention it in your application essay or put it somewhere on the form.

What Steps Can I Take to Make Sure That College Recruiters Only See Some of My Social Media Photos and Videos?

What Steps Can I Take to Make Sure That College Recruiters Only See Some of My Social Media Photos and Videos_

There are certain privacy settings that you can use that keep your account open to the public but that hide certain posts. This can be less of a red flag than keeping the whole account private. Leaving up good posts that promote you in a positive light can be good for the admissions and scholarship boards to see.

First, Do an Audit of Your Accounts from A Potential Recruiter’s Perspective

First, Do an Audit of Your Accounts from A Potential Recruiter’s Perspective

Let’s face it- not all of our social media posts make us look like upstanding citizens. You need to be aware of what you have posted across all of your social media accounts so that you can find the ones that may need to be hidden. Put yourself in the place of a recruiter and look through your posts. Do any of them make you look like someone who isn’t college material? Is anything offensive? Is there anything there that makes you look poorly educated? Make sure your grammar is good and that you don’t use a lot of off-color language. Both can be a turn-off for admissions and scholarship boards.

Consider Adjusting the Privacy Settings Across the Various Social Networks

Consider Adjusting the Privacy Settings Across the Various Social Networks

Can my college recruiters see my Facebook? If you have no privacy measures engaged, yes. In Facebook, there are a number of aspects of your account that you can keep private, including who your friends are, future posts, and past posts. You can also control whether search engines link to your profile. Just go to Settings and then to Privacy to see the options available to you.

On Instagram, click the menu box and then the gear icon to go to Settings. Then go to Privacy and from there to Account Privacy. There you can make your account private if you wish. On Twitter, go through the gear icon and choose Privacy and Safety. That will allow you to manage many aspects of your privacy, including what others are able to see. Make sure to save your changes.

Think Carefully About What Info the College Recruiter Would Want to See

Think Carefully About What Info the College Recruiter Would Want to See

Taking care of your social media accounts is more than just identifying the posts that make you look bad and getting rid of them or hiding them. You also want to think about what recruiters would actually look for in a social media account. It’s best not to hide everything, but on sites like Facebook you can hide the past posts and enable people to see your future posts.

It’s good to have positive posts that show some of your interests and activities. A recruiter may see something there that you forgot to list on your application. Do you do volunteer work? Are you on any committees? Do you have a hobby that requires skill? All of these would be good posts to have on social media as all paint you in a good light. Even favorite moments with friends can be good for showing that you are a sociable person.

Identify Photos and Videos That Might Not Be Appropriate for a Recruiter to See

Identify Photos and Videos That Might Not Be Appropriate for a Recruiter to See

If you’ve already policed your language, make sure that you also review your photos and videos. Take a look at them and think about what each says about you. Can my college recruiters see my Instagram? If it isn’t private- absolutely. Think about all of the photos you posted there and whether perhaps you should remove some.

I hope this post is helpful, and I’d love you to share your tips for making sure that your social media accounts don’t hurt you in the eyes of recruiters.

— Sean