I recently watched this video that warned 35% of college admissions officers are checking out student applicant social media pages.
I had to know: is it true here in the Midwest?
I reached out to a few Nebraska college admissions offices to find out. Here’s what I learned.
Most college admissions offices don’t have the time to review your social media profile. So they don’t. BUT – that doesn’t mean it won’t come up later.
Colleges told me those social media profiles might impact special opportunities. They had heard of coaches letting go of a recruit (and their scholarship), or students losing a spot in an Honors program or being able to participate in an on-campus activity. Your negative social media might even cost you an on-campus job position. And one college shared how many students connect with their future college classmates via social media. Think about what message you want to send to your future freshman roommate (and probably their parents).
So…what constitutes “negative” posts? It’s pretty simple: anything not positive. This could be as simple as foul language, cruel comments, and illegal activity. One college spoke of a student who did not have incriminating photos, however, the comments this student made on social pages alluded to illegal drug use.
So most state colleges in Nebraska aren’t looking at your social media profiles to make admission decisions.
But, if you want to go to a more exclusive institution, you’ll want to especially be aware. I spoke with one selective college that won’t look at your social media page as part of their regular review process, but will take action if something is brought to their attention. They will consider rescinding an admissions offer, or at the very least have a stern conversation with you about it. The more competitive the college, the less willing they will be to work with you. They’ll move on to the next incredible applicant on their list.
But…my account is private!
Doesn’t matter. Did you hear about Harvard rescinding admission to ten students after learning of a private group exchange of racist and sexual messages? It was a private group. But obviously someone in the group leaked it, or someone outside the group learned about it and outed them. Nothing is ever totally private when a photo is taken or a message is sent electronically.
Know this: your friends can screenshot your Snapchat messages, texts, photos – anything! And it might come back to haunt you.
I know what you’re thinking: I really don’t trust your friends. It’s not that I don’t trust them. But conflict may happen. People get petty. Bad decisions get made. Don’t put yourself on the receiving end.
Bottom line: If you send it electronically, be ok with anyone seeing it in the future. And think bigger than college admissions. If you don’t want a future employer or even future significant other seeing it, just don’t post it.
Instead, think about adding some positive content to your social media feeds. Brag (humbly) about your community service. Compliment a family member. And hope a college admissions office takes a look.