3 Ways Social Media Affects the College Admissions Process - latest tech tips

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3 Ways Social Media Affects the College Admissions Process

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You're used to posting whatever comes to mind and showing your raw, unvarnished self on your favorite social media websites. After all, that's the point, right? To spout off when you feel like it and share every little thought you have with the world, however mundane or volatile. It kind of puts a damper on it all when you learn that college admissions officers are increasingly using social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to research applicants and make admissions decisions.

In fact, according to Kaplan Test Prep, close to 25 percent of admissions officers from the top 500 colleges and universities in the U.S. review social media sites as part of their decision-making process. While that isn't the vast majority, those numbers grow every year. Knowing that admissions officers can track you down on the www gives you a heads up, but it's helpful to know what they're looking for and how what they find can impact your possibility of being accepted to one of your top pick schools.

The Tip-Off

Although checking social networking sites isn't routine for all schools just yet, an admissions officer is more likely to view an unflattering or outright disturbing post if they're tipped off. President and CEO of Hernandez Consulting, Michele Hernandez, recounted to U.S. News how jealous students sent Facebook links to admissions offices to sabotage the applications of other students. But if something in your information or a recommendation letter raises a red flag, admissions officers won't need the damning links served up to them on a silver platter. They'll do the search for you themselves to glean more information on the type of person they're considering admitting to their school.

Reviewing Posts

It's not just the goofy or racy party pics posted on Facebook that can influence an admissions officer to brand your application with the big red "rejected" stamp. True, the picture your bestie uploaded featuring you hugging the toilet with an empty Jack Daniels bottle by your side won't exactly wow them in the admissions office, but the things you post day-to-day reveal a lot about you. Actions may speak louder than words in the real world, but on social networks, the words do most of the talking. One prime example is a quote on SafetyWeb from an admissions officer who felt he had no choice but to reject an applicant after tracking down the student's social networking profile. One of the most recent posts he found was a boastful account of how easy the application process was, and included the "just between us" info that he wasn't even interested in attending the school. Smooth move, Einstein.

Using Social Media to Your Advantage

There's a season for everything, and when college application time rolls around, so does the time to clean up your social media act. Eliminate your rant posts, and use your Tweets, Facebook posts and even YouTube channel to showcase your best characteristics. Tweet a link to a blog posting of a paper you're particularly proud of or, if you're an artist, you can post images of recent work. Videos of debates or theater performances can be uploaded to YouTube. You can even use professional networks to get a foot in the door. For example, if you're applying to a school with social networks of its own, such as a Penn Foster Linkedin page, connect with the network after creating a profile that showcases your skills and accomplishments. These professional networks are a useful way to present a positive profile in a neat package.

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