Like you, international students across the world take to social media to find out more about the universities on their wish list. In fact, between 2017 and 2018, 83% of prospective students used social media to find more about their chosen colleges, according to research. Isn’t it then fair for your admissions officers to check out what you’ve posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or even to follow you on Snapchat?
When Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey asking 350 admissions officers about checking a student’s social feed, they got very interesting results: 35% of college admissions officers said yes.
While some universities have been up-front about checking the social media history of potential applicants, some have said they don’t. When Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey asking 350 admissions officers about checking a student’s social feed, they got very interesting results: 35% of college admissions officers said yes. From this number, around 16 said what they saw on students’ walls, timelines, and feed had a positive impact on their application, while 15 said what they saw created a negative impact.
So, does this mean you worry about every tweet where you’ve been clever yet mean or every post where your friend is doing something even remotely questionable? Not really. Since your college application contains documents like your personal essay (or statement of purpose), your letters of recommendation, and smaller supplementary essays that are carefully written and prepared, admissions officers may want to see what you’re like when you’re being casual. This is not a bad thing, nor is it something you need to worry about.
Sometimes, admissions officers may see what you’ve posted on social media right before they conduct an in-person or remote interview with you, and use what they see as a conversation opener or talking point.
So, relax. Doctoring your new posts, or deleting old posts that seem even the slightest bit off-colour isn’t the way to go. Instead, let your social media feed reflect who you are, what you like to do, and what you’re passionate about. Since not everything you like can go on your college application, express yourself on social media. This is not to say that you should rant, troll people, and be abusive—use the normal filters of decency and good behaviour. Instead, what you can do is start actively following universities you want to get into, express your passion for say LPs or beat poetry, and act your age.
Better yet, tighten your privacy settings, and avoid the following:
- Expressions of hate and prejudice
- Sharing obscene images or videos
- Foul language
- Racial slurs and controversial posts
As for what you can do, well, follow the same code of behaviour you would want your prospective college abroad to follow:
- Understand that in an increasingly digital world, what you like, follow or post can be used to profile you
- Understand that you have a social responsibility to follow the basic rules of courtesy
- Understand that digital communication often has the power to inspire positive change
That’s about it. The rest depends on you, and how honest you want to be about yourself when the spotlight’s not on you. To strengthen your college application to highly competitive schools, talk to student abroad consultants like us, who will teach you how to wield the power of words. See the eligibility criteria for colleges abroad here.