If you thought your transcript and college essay were all admissions officers were looking at — think again.
According to a new survey by Kaplan Test Prep, universities are checking up on what students post on Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram.
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But that doesn’t mean they’re simply scrolling through and weeding out applicants boozing it up with red solo cups. In many cases, they’re actually looking to discover more about students passions and out-of-school hobbies.
So how can you make sure you’re posting things that will boost your chances of acceptance? We spoke with admissions counselor, Danny Ruderman to find out:
Applicants can spend weeks writing and re-writing their admissions essay, but words can only illustrate so much. Sometimes, the best way to demonstrate character is through a quick snapshot. But that doesn’t mean you should just post pictures of your cute dog. “Students should be trying to justify and expand on what they discussed in their application,” says Rudeman. If you spent paragraphs detailing your love for sports, upload some pictures from the field. “Maybe your team just won a game, and the photographer for the yearbook took a picture of your crew celebrating, post it with a caption like, ‘Shout out to my boys who just won league championships,’ ”says Ruderman. At the end of the day, you want your social media accounts to re-iterate, and bring to life what you’re trying to get across on paper.
Don’t show partial love
“Colleges want to know that you want them,” says Ruderman, but giving too much attention to one school might actually harm you in the long run. Even if you’re completely adamant about attending Harvard, that doesn’t mean you should be filling your timeline with endless pictures of you decked out in head to toe Harvard attire. “All of the other colleges that check your page will go, ‘Oh this kid doesn’t want to go here, he clearly has his eyes set on Harvard, why should we even take him?’ ”And that jealousy will backfire come acceptance time. His advice: Don’t post anything that gets too specific. You’ll be much better off if you focus oh highlighting who you are as a person, rather than identifying with any given school.
Admissions officers know that applicants have spent weeks, sometimes even months, trying to craft a certain image. The last thing they want to see on your social media account are robotic posts and triple-checked diary entries. “You also don’t want to be like, #I’ll be great at Yale.” It doesn’t tell them anything about you. The best thing students can do is post about what goes on during their day-to-day, says the expert. If you’re really into theatre, and just spent the evening performing a play with friends, upload a brief clip or two. The reality is, “admissions officers are trying to put a face to a name,” says Ruderman. “They really just want to see the authentic person on the other side of the screen.”