If you’re applying to college, follow this golden rule of social media: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see.
A new survey by Kaplan Test Prep released Feb. 10 found that out of more than 350 college admissions officers across the United States, 35% admit to checking an applicant’s social media profiles before making a decision. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be easily accessed by admissions officers, and the survey found nearly half of those who do check social media say it helps (or hurts) a students’ application.
One survey participant learned through an applicant’s Twitter page that the student ran an LGBTQ panel for her high school, which she failed to include in her application. The discovery of this missing piece sparked a deeper curiosity within the admissions committee, which boded well for the applicant.
But poor social media decorum can get a student removed from the pool of potential candidates. Students have been rejected from schools for posting nasty things about their peers or teachers or making racist remarks.
But that’s not a typical occurrence, according to Yariv Alpher, executive director of research at Kaplan Test Prep.
“The large majority of admissions officers do not visit applicants’ social media sites. However, a meaningful number do, as many note that social media can provide a more authentic and holistic view of applicants beyond the polished applications,” Alpher said.
Pomona College actually has a policy against using students’ social media as a deciding factor for admissions. With an acceptance rate below 10%, Pomona College weeds out applicants based solely on the materials submitted.
Adam Sapp, director of admissions at Pomona College, still cautions students to be careful of the message they put out on social media.
“I think one of the things that students have to be…