Social Media Tips for High Schoolers

The content you put on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter can affect your chances of getting the college acceptance letter and even the scholarships you want. In fact, a recent Kaplan survey found that 10% of college admissions officers have used social media networking sites to evaluate potential students. So be careful what you post!

But, at the same time, more than 80% of colleges are using social media to recruit students like you. That makes social media a great resource for getting to know the colleges on your list.

Here are some tips:

Networking

  • Do follow the colleges that interest you – Look especially for Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels run by each school, especially the ones operated by their admissions and scholarship offices. Social media is a great way to learn about academic life, financial aid majors, and more.
  • Do showcase your credentials – There are lots of things you can do here: post positive news stories written about you, create a photo gallery of your volunteer activities, blog about your college and career ambitions. Be positive, but try not to brag too much.
  • Do monitor your privacy settings – Spend some time to make sure anything that’s “friends only” stays with your friends only. But, keep in mind, privacy settings aren’t foolproof, and it’s easy to let down your guard. The best policy? Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom – or your admissions officer – to see.
  • Do engage – The point of social media is to be, well, social. Feel free to ask questions and participate in the conversations on college social media networks. Just be sure to think for a minute or two before you hit that “enter” button. Don’t say anything you might regret later. It’s a good idea to check your spelling, too.
  • Do Google yourself – Go to your favorite search engine, type in your name and see what comes up. Be sure to go a few pages deep to make sure there’s nothing embarrassing about you online and then remove any embarrassing content that you can. If you can’t take down the content yourself, you may need to get advice from an adult or teacher.

Not Working

  • Don’t show your bad side – Some examples: pics of illegal activities like underage drinking, statements that are controversial or offensive, and any kind of online bullying. In short, don’t post anything that might make admissions officers think you’re a legal risk or potential drop-out.
  • Don’t trash the school you just visited – So you thought the campus tour was boring and your tour guide “a little too perky.” Keep any negative opinions to yourself. After all, you might change your mind down the road.
  • Don’t get crazy with your profile pic – Take a good look at your pic and ask, “Would I staple this photo to my college application? For the record, your answer should be “no” if the pic shows too much skin or could alarm people who don’t know you.
  • Don’t take chances – When it comes to your online reputation, you should always assume that any public content is fair game for admissions and scholarship officers. Of course, if you actively engage colleges using social networks (for example by posting questions on college Facebook pages or sending a friend request to a college recruiter), you increase the odds.

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