Do College Admissions Officers Look at Social Media?

Yes, college admissions officers look at social media of applicants’. 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok can reveal a lot about a student, and sometimes admissions officers take note of that. A growing number of admissions officers see no issue with social media being part of the admissions equation. After all, admissions essays do not reveal all there is to know about a person. A student’s digital presence provides another window into their personhood and assures them that they bring on board and align with their values.

For this reason, it’s essential to advise students to be conscientious about what they post online. In fact, their social media feeds are as likely to aid their college applications as they are to hurt them. Of the admissions officers providing feedback about checking social media, 38 percent stated their findings substantially impacted their perception of the applicants. So, please inform your students that college admissions officers look at social media.

Impact of Social Media on College Admission

College Admissions Officers Look at Social Media

Stories of colleges rescinding admission offers are increasing year on year. This isn’t to say that admissions officers shy away from opinionated students who happen to have a platform. On the contrary, well-rounded students with rich social lives or those involved in social justice causes can be attractive to colleges. However, they draw the line at insensitive or offensive text or content. And unsurprisingly, photos or videos of underage drinking, partying, or sharing offensive thoughts on social media can hinder an applicant’s chances. 

While there are ways to limit who can view your content, nothing posted on social media is ever anonymous. The internet holds on to everything- screenshots and video sharing mean what you post online is tied to you forever. To be safe, students should avoid sharing experiences and opinions online that they wouldn’t express in a sit-down interview with an admissions officer. At the end of the day, the students could be punished owing to erroneous observation and not by reality. 

How Should Students Use Social Media To Their Benefit

Social media can also be a means to tell a positive story to admissions officers. Please encourage students to post about their interests, volunteer work, and social lives. It’s a chance to post about passions and share highlights about their lives. 

A well-curated social media feed can give admissions officers a snippet into a student’s life and can be the key to acceptance as it provides schools another view into who you are beyond your grades. 

Does this mean students should spend their days tweaking their social media feeds to look like the ideal applicant? Absolutely not. Colleges still prioritize test scores, GPAs, admission essays, and extracurriculars over anything they find online. The real problem is that most students don’t realize the repercussions that can follow a mean tweet or embarrassing Snapchat. Social media can call their character and abilities into question and potentially ruin their chances of being admitted into their dream college.

As a guidance counselor, it’s crucial to make students understand social media’s impact on their lives. Advise students that it’s good to make their social media profiles private as doing so limits what strangers have access to. That said, nothing is ever really private on the internet, as content shared is still out there, waiting to be found.


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