Along with polishing up essays, students applying for college might be smart to spend time reviewing their online presence and revising their social-media profiles.
Admissions counselors are checking out applicants’ Facebook pages. The latest survey by Kaplan Test Prep shows 24 percent say they have gone to an applicant’s Facebook or other social-networking page to learn more about the person, and 20 percent have Googled him or her. Others, such as Schools.com, say as many as 70 percent of colleges use Facebook as a medium to high priority in the admissions process.
Online profiles can help or hurt a student’s chances, depending on what’s included. Experts suggest doing a search on Google of your name to see what pops up and make adjustments where possible.
A piece in U.S. News and World Report this week talks about colleges using Facebook profiles as an introduction to students’ interests and how it can play up an applicant’s strengths.
Kaplan offers 10 ways to manage your social media footprint on its website. It suggests changing Facebook default settings to limit access to profiles and past posts. Students should review photos and take off inappropriate ones. Also check out where friends have tagged photos and change settings so only friends can see these posts.
The application review goes beyond what’s on paper with students’ grades, test scores, and essays. Now, getting into college requires students to be tech-savvy about how they appear online not just to their friends but to prospective colleges.