With the technology in today's world, basically anything you've penned, snapped or chirped is out there in the public square. This means it's all fair game to be considered and used as evaluation fodder by admission teams at schools large and small. Therefore, you should be very careful about what you share on your various social media accounts.
If you tend to be more sporadic with your posting, or are starting to rethink things you've shared years ago, it's always a good idea to give these platforms a good cleaning when applying to colleges.
Here are some ways to use social media to your advantage.
- Create a LinkedIn profile. Joining this professional network demonstrates you're serious about your future. Make a point to connect with teachers, employers, your parents' friends and colleagues, and others who know you. You could even include the address to your LinkedIn profile in your application to direct admission teams right to it.
- Follow the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages of your target schools. This is a great way to learn more about prospective colleges. Plus, by commenting and asking great questions, you can raise your name recognition and improve your digital footprint.
- Post your successes on your social media sites just in case someone from admissions takes a peek. Link to the editorial you've written for your school paper, upload a video of your cello recital or post a photo of your soccer team after a big win. Share articles that underscore your interest in history or your love of modern dance.
If you're not thrilled with what shows up about you online, there are ways to fix it. Cleaning up those profiles goes a long way, as does making a switch to posting content you're more comfortable with admission teams seeing.
Another great way to boost your online presence is through school activities, as these are likely to show high up in search results. This can come in the form of writing an article for your school paper or participating in an extracurricular activity or club that's on the high school website. You can also try starting your own foodie blog or commenting on online news stories from your local paper or even the New York Times to gain more personal traction on the internet. As always, just make sure your comments are positive.
The bottom line is that social media is yet another opportunity to show colleges who you really are beyond grades and test scores. While colleges may not officially evaluate your Twitter feed as part of the decision process, you have to assume that a curious admissions officer could take a look, so it's never a bad idea to have something you're proud of there.
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