Check Your Social Media Presence

Many people dismiss the notion that colleges will check out an applicant’s social media profiles, but it really does happen. The trend is declining  – only 25% of admissions officers reported looking at social media in 2018, down from 40% in 2015.  Typically a college will only look at a student’s social media posts if the applicant has sent links as part of their application – sometimes to showcase their artistic talents or musical accomplishments, for example.

Sometimes, however, (usually anonymous) third parties will alert colleges to inappropriate social media posts. Why do colleges care? Most colleges, even large private and public universities, do a “holistic” review of applications. Character is an important component of holistic review, and social media can help colleges evaluate an applicant’s character.

Recently, moreover, in the wake of the social movements across the country, some colleges and universities have rescinded admissions offers when they have learned of admitted students’ racist or otherwise inappropriate social media posts. This raises a number of complex issues, particularly First Amendment rights, which also varies between public and private universities. Some university presidents also feel a responsibility not to bar students who have posted “offensive” comments, but rather to admit and educate them – to “change” students for the better. But, as this New York Times article shows, students need to be cognizant about their social media presence:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/02/us/racism-social-media-college-admissions.html?searchResultPosition=1

For more information on why and how colleges use social media review in the admissions process and the recent rescission of admission offers check out these articles:

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2019-08-22/why-colleges-look-at-students-social-media-accounts

https://www.forbes.com/sites/evangerstmann/2020/06/11/should-colleges-rescind-admission-offers-based-on-racist-social-media-posts/#5de2339a6392

The important take-away: students need to be mindful about what they post on social media, a practice that is wise to follow whether applying to college or not.