Social Media Mistakes Can Impact Case for College Admission

Social Media and Admission, College Admission and Facebook, Twitter and Admissions

Harvard rescinded offers of admission to several students last year because of their offensive posts on an online message board.

While college admissions officers at highly selective colleges don’t review the social media presence of every applicant, they do check out these profiles and feeds on occasion. So when you’re applying to college (or graduate school for that matter), you’d be wise to either delete your social media presence or make those settings privatized with expedience. One insensitive Tweet or one scandalous Facebook / Instagram post can mean the difference between an offer of admission and a denial. Why take that chance?

College Applicants Should Clean Up Their Social Media Presence

As a recent article about business school applicants by Seb Murray in “The Financial Times” (“Careless tweets can cost your place at business school“) points out, “What you post on social media can also affect your odds of getting into business school. More than one-third of US schools now screen candidates’ social media profiles to help them decide who gets in and who does not. This is up from 22 per cent in 2011, according to Kaplan Test Prep, an education services company. So aspiring MBAs must carefully brand themselves online to help secure a place…Half of admissions officers who visit candidates’ online profiles have found content that stymied applications, according to a survey by Kaplan. Examples include vitriolic reviews of previous employers and sexist comments.”

We encourage all of our students to privatize or delete their social media profiles. In our experience, students and parents tell us that they either don’t have a social media presence or their profiles and feeds are fully privatized. And then we check them out for ourselves. Very rarely are they fully privatized. We can typically see a whole lot more than our students intended for us to see. Over the years, we’ve seen shirtless photos, prom pictures, family vacation shots, and we can even remember a picture of one former student with a gun (yikes — talk about scaring off an admissions officer!). The President of the United States may not use much care on Twitter but when you’re applying to college (and in life), it’s probably a good idea to exercise caution with what you post online. They say the best lessons are those you learn from others. Well, remember when a bunch of admitted students to Harvard last year had their offers of admission rescinded for making offensive posts on a message board? Learn from their mistakes. Clean up your social media profiles or remove them entirely.


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