The role of social media in college admissions is one that there’s no prep class for — but a growing trend of using Twitter and Facebook as part of an overall candidate profile is one prospective students can’t ignore.
Of course, much panic surrounds the issue of social media propriety in work and in education, but social media admissions issues are not often discussed. As it turns out, your social status on various platforms can indeed sink your candidacy — but not necessarily in a “difficult to avoid” way.
The New York Times ran a cautionary tale that goes beyond keg stands and questionable Halloween costumes, centering on the issue of a bigger and more intuitive social media foible. While it appears that social media status is not as unforgiving as we once collectively seemed to believe (not a fine-tooth comb thing, per se), it still behooves you to be smart and kind when discussing matters such as college admissions processes on social sites.
The anecdote comes out of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and involves a high school senior who otherwise appeared to be a possible candidate for admission. Perhaps her other achievements inured her to the still-out jury, because she felt comfortable denigrating her fellow prospective students at an event — and shot down any chance she had of admission had she been considered.
Scott A. Meiklejohn, Bowdoin’s dean of admissions, told the paper:
“It was incredibly unusual and foolish of her to do that … We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends their time on their mobile phone and makes such awful remarks.”
Christine Brown, the executive director of K-12 and college programs at Kaplan Test Prep, concurs overall — saying to the Times:
“Students’ social media and digital footprint can sometimes play a role in the admissions process … It’s something that is becoming more ubiquitous and less looked down upon.”
The tale of social media and college admissions woe is another to keep in mind when “cleaning up” your social presence. It isn’t necessary to be perfect — but take pains not to be unpleasant and unreasonable. As always, such behavior has a way of biting you.