Students applying to highly selective colleges should clean up their Facebooks. They should clean up their Instgrams. They should clean up their Twitters. And they should clean up all of the other social media accounts they have. If you’re wondering what you think we mean by “clean up,” we mean make them go bye bye. We know, your life depends on social media. You don’t know how you’ll make it through the day without taking a photo of yourself eating a cupcake, posting it on Instagram, reposting it on Facebook, Tweeting about it, and then sending it via SnapChat to a host of your friends. We feel for you. We do. Ok, we don’t.
But by “clean up,” we don’t mean parse through some photos and only keep public the ones you think admissions officers won’t mind. Because what you think a admissions officers won’t mind is your opinion and your opinion alone. It’s subjective. We always suggest that our students completely privatize their social media accounts — if they insist on keeping them up during the admissions process. On Facebook as an example, we don’t want admissions officers viewing what Ralph had to say about our student’s prom dress. Maybe it’s an innocuous comment but we don’t want photos of prom dresses to begin with. We don’t want controversial Tweets. We don’t want photos of the cupcake you ate for breakfast. Who eats cupcakes for breakfast anyway?
Play it safe. Delete or completely privatize social media accounts. Check to see what the public can see of your profile. You may realize it’s way too much. And even if students don’t happen to realize this, we advise parents to insist they do. Because college admissions officers are increasingly checking up on applicants online. And if they don’t like what they see…
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