September 2009 Newsletter
Do college admissions counselors check you out on Facebook, My Space, Twitter, or any other social networking websites? Realize that they might do just that!
It goes without saying that you should avoid posting anything on social networking sites that you wouldn’t want a college admissions counselor to read. In fact, avoid posting anything that you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to read! Consider also that your guidance counselor and your teachers who write your letters of recommendation may read what you post. Also, consider that your classmates who are not your friends, and who may be applying to the same college may tip off an admissions officer about a particular photo or posting on one of your pages. Postings about drinking, sexual or illegal activity, your own personal prejudices, or ones that may reflect your poor character or judgment, should not be up there for the world to see. In addition, look carefully at what you write as your favorite activities, interests, music, books, movies, TV shows, websites, and quotations. You don’t want any of your “favorites” to raise questions about your character. But on the other hand, don’t take these suggestions to an extreme. Don’t change your favorites to others just because you think it would seem more impressive.
Be careful about what you write about any particular colleges, whether or not these comments are positive or negative. You wouldn’t want an admissions counselor from Yale to read how much you love Princeton, and you wouldn’t want an NYU admissions counselor to read about how NYU is your safety. Why also let an admissions counselor see a list of colleges to which you’re applying? Why write that Columbia is your first choice, unless of course you can be sure that a Columbia admissions counselor is the only one reading your posting? A September 2008 Wall Street Journal article reported that after a student made a campus visit to a particular college, he then trashed the college on Facebook. Needless to say, the college’s dean of admissions sent that student a letter of rejection.
Some of the things that you may have posted on social networking sites you wouldn’t want to write about in an essay, or comfortably discuss it in an interview, so why would you want to broadcast this on the 6:00 news? What you might want to do is think about all the positive aspects of your life that you can post. Why not have college admissions counselors see all the fun and wonderful things that you do?
Photos are equally important, but you might want to make sure that they reflect you in a most positive light. Photos depicting you inappropriately dressed, holding a bottle of vodka, gesturing rudely, or engaging in the throws of passion, are not photos that you want up there for public viewing. Instead, consider posting pictures that show you volunteering, playing your musical instrument, engaging in your favorite sport, curling up with your latest read, or having lunch with your friends at your favorite pizza place.
If you’re going to be diligent about your pages, then also be diligent about regularly checking that your friends have not posted any comments about you or photos of you that you don’t want to be seen. Make sure that your friends’ photos and pages are respectable too. If you think that there’s anything posted that’s questionable on your friends’ pages, and since you can’t delete your friends’ photos or postings, then delete these friends from your pages.
Read our Blog on Social Media and College Admissions