Over a period between July 2017 and February 2018, Kaplan Test Prep surveyed 388 admissions officers from the nation’s top colleges and 914 high school students enrolled in a Kaplan course. Their survey found that 70% of admissions officers say it’s “fair game” for them to visit applicants’ social media profiles, and the same percentage of students agree with them. Despite that high percentage, the survey found that only 29% of admissions officers actually take the time to check social media.
Yet, our current reality is a world where people google each other constantly. I’m certain that anyone reading this post has googled another person or done a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter search. Whether it’s employers investigating potential new hires, singles doing due diligence on their blind dates, or just genuine curiosity that lends us to “research” new people in our lives, know that if everyone else does it, colleges can do it as well.
So, what does this mean? If you do NOT want admissions officers to see something, do NOT post it on social media. Even if roughly less than 1/3 of admissions officers check social media, why take the chance of posting anything slightly inappropriate that may hurt your chances of admission to your dream school? As we all know, many people post their entire lives on social media complete with daily updates. If it’s your senior year of high school and you had a wild spring break in Cancun, perhaps you want to reconsider posting any photos that could be interpreted as less than responsible. Or, if you were previously deferred or wait listed from School XYZ, you may want to refrain from posting “School XYZ sucks! Didn’t want to go there anyway!” Yes, this probably seems obvious for most, but nevertheless it is important to mention. The Kaplan survey found that 9% of admissions officers revoked an incoming student’s admission offer because of what they found on social media. After all the hard work you put in on college applications, you do not want to be in that 9%.
Moral of the story – make smart choices when posting on social media and you’ll have nothing to worry about. If colleges do by chance research you online, you want whatever they find to enhance your application, not detract from it.