Application review season is in high gear and many students are wondering if admissions officers will take the time to view their on-line profile. When I was in admissions, I only took the time to look up a student on-line if there was something intriguing in their application. For example, if they did something extraordinary that was news worthy or if there was a major disciplinary issue and a detailed explanation was not provided. Reality is that admissions officers are reading 40 to 50 (or more) applications a day. They do not have the time to look at the Facebook account of every applicant. If they do take the time to do it, they would have to have a good reason why.
With that said, students still should make sure their on-line profile is the best reflection of them. Think of it as an unofficial part of your application. You don’t want anything about you on-line that you would not want the admission representative of your favorite school to see. Everyone knows about privacy settings and creating false identities, but students should really take the time to create a positive on-line presence. Every high school student should clean up his or her on-line profile. Here are five tips to help you get started.
- Google yourself. This is the best way to determine what is out there. Type you name into Google and see what others will find. Make sure you type all of the versions of your name, including your first, middle and last name and any nicknames you may have. You should also click on the images tab of Google to see what pictures of you are out there.
- Untag pictures and videos. One of the most incriminating pieces of on-line history that can be out there are images. Facebook is probably the most prominent, but people can also tag you in pictures or videos on other social media sites such as Flickr, Instagram and YouTube. Make sure you check all of the social media sites that you (and your friends) are associated with.
- Be good on Facebook. Facebook is the main culprit for a messy on-line profile. Go through everything that you have “liked” and make sure it is appropriate. Also check the groups you belong too. Anything involving alcohol or that is demeaning should be changed.
- Watch your language. It can be easy to jump on-line and post a rant. Whether it is on your Twitter account, Facebook or the blog you created, make sure your comments are appropriate. You want yourself to be portrayed in the best light possible, so any inappropriate or negative comments need to be deleted.
- Make a deal with your friends. Sometimes you are associated with inappropriate on-line content without your knowledge. Make sure and let your friends know that you want to maintain a positive on-line profile for the time being (and I am sure you can find a cooler way to ask). Ask them to let you know if they tag you in anything and let them know that you will do the same for them.
The college application process is stressful enough. You don’t want to have to worry about an on-line comment or image ruining your chances for your future.