Most juniors and seniors have heard the warnings from high school college guidance counselors, parents, and other adults about the importance of scrubbing social media pages of questionable photos and language — no red solo cups, obviously, no wild party photos or other questionable comments that could get into the hands of admissions officers and negatively impact an admission decision at a particular college. Almost half of admissions officers do pay attention to social media sites so heeding this advice is a no-brainer.
On the flip side, maybe it’s time for students to be more proactive and creative about using social media as a tool to market themselves to colleges. A news segment on NPR’s Here and Now, Does Social Media Help Students Stand Out To Schools?, made what I think is a compelling case about students using social media to shed a brighter light on their specific talents, interests, background, and personal experiences than what is possible through a college application or essay. For example, if you’re doing summer research, why not talk about the experience, what you’ve learned, or the paper or abstract you wrote via a post on Facebook. The bottom line: use social media as a tool to positively market yourself to college admissions staff.