The amount of people using social media is staggering. Over 500 million people are on Facebook, and there are over 200 million tweets sent every single day. The barriers between individuals are crumbling, but with such an extended community able to interact on a personal basis, the need for a responsible online presence is paramount, especially for students.
We’re not advocating that students should whitewash their online presence. Certainly, colleges are looking for students who have their own personality and who are cognizant of the world around them. That said, speech that you might consider inside joke between friends, when viewed from the outside, could be construed as offensive, and could be detrimental to your chances at acceptance.
We encourage students to protect their Twitter feeds, and to be selective with who they allow to follow them. In addition, we ask that students consider the ramifications of what they’re saying before tweeting it, posting it as a status on Facebook, or sending a picture out on Instagram. Colleges can and do search for students’ online presence, and, like it or not, what they find can be a factor in the decision making process.
If you utilize social media, be interesting. Tweet about an article you found thought provoking. Don’t check in at bars if you’re not 21, even if you happen to be walking by one and didn’t go inside. Share a video that you found particularly gorgeous. Explore your city and take pictures of what makes it unique. You have a distinct viewpoint on the world, and while it’s important to share it, it’s also important to remember that what you put online can be seen by a multitude of people. Ask yourself this: is what you’re putting on Facebook and/or Twitter helping or hurting your chance at being admitted to your dream college?