Have you been monitoring your child’s social media presence because you’re worried what he posts will hurt his case for admission to highly selective colleges? If so, we support you! You must assume that anything you can see on your child’s social media profile can also be seen by admissions officers. When parents ask us if college admissions officers really do take the time to check, we tell them that they don’t in most cases but why take the chance? Before a recent update, if you did a search on Facebook for “photos of [name of person],” you could see any photos this person was tagged in, whether you were Facebook friends with the person or not. Don’t rely on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms to present only your best self for admissions officers. Remove questionable content, ramp up your privacy preferences, and — better yet — delete your social media profiles entirely. A parent once asked us, “But wouldn’t it hurt my daughter’s chances of admission if admissions officers saw she wasn’t social, that she had no social media presence?” The answer is a resounding no!
Admissions Officers Aren’t Checking Social Media As Much Anymore
That said, social media checks by admissions officers may be on the decline. As reports David Cohen in a piece for “AdWeek” entitled “College Admissions Officers Are Putting Less Focus on Applicants’ Social Media Profiles,” “Kaplan surveyed 364 admissions officers from national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities in the U.S., and it found that only 25 percent visit applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them, down from 40 percent in 2015, prior to the emergence of the Stories format and similar features on other social platforms. Indeed, 52 percent of college admissions officers that did visit applicants’ social media profiles said those applicants have become more savvy about hiding their social media presence or using platforms where their content is not easily found by the public. Kaplan cited a report by Piper Jaffray, which found that 85 percent of teens said they use both Instagram and Snapchat at least once per month, while just 36 percent use Facebook once per month, down from 60 percent two years ago.”
Why Admissions Officers Aren’t Checking Social Media As Much Anymore
So why the decline, you ask? We’d conjecture two reasons: 1.) the proliferation of platforms may overwhelm admissions officers — it’s not like they can just hit up Facebook to get their information anymore and 2.) the emergence of fleeting Snapchat and Instagram Stories posts may lead admissions officers to think they won’t find the information they’re looking for anyway. Oh and do remember that just because 25% of admissions officers admit to checking social media profiles doesn’t mean only 25% of admissions officers actually check social media profiles of applicants. The figure could actually be a whole lot higher if you think about it. 25% might really be 50%.