Plan For College

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ensuring a Positive Social Media Image

The "Why Start College Planning Early?" Series    #3 of 6

"Ensuring a Positive Social Media Image"

News Flash: Last year hundreds of applicants were rejected by a college because of their Instagram or Facebook posts! Many more got much less scholarship money than they could have because their Social Media Image was damaging...But smart applicants can avoid this very easily: Clean up your Internet Image!

Colleges look at Social Media to understand who a student is and if they are a fit or not for their unique community. If you are a student athlete that is being considered for a large scholarship, admissions staff can find you easily on any Social Media platform and look at years of pictures and posts. If they see anything they don't like, do you think they will call you and ask about it? No...they will go to the next candidate in the pile and keep looking.

What does your Social Media say about you? Does your college resume and application contradict your FB and Twitter stream? Are you a great student on paper and on your Twitter feed or are they contradictory? Do your daily videos and pictures show a lot of partying on the weekends and skipped school days on the beach? Do you have pictures of you holding a Red Solo Cup? Everyone knows what that means and if you are under age, it's not helping your image!

Or do you use Social Media as a promotional tool to convince colleges to accept you? We are not saying that you should stage pictures in front of a church or homeless shelter or in the library to pretend you are a good person...And we are not saying that you can't show fun times or crazy adventures...Colleges like applicants that are well-rounded, mature and adventurous so show them your best sides! Your Social Media Image is you and it may need to cleaned up!

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Some General Do's for Social Media:

·         * Make sure you tag the college often...They can see if you include the College Name in your posts

·         * Like the College Social pages, add them to your incoming feeds, follow the college Social Media Site, re-tweet their posts and add your own positive comments
 ·         * School Clubs: Post pics and vids from competitions and meetings.
Community Activism: Post from the food pantry showing co-workers. If cleaning a local park on weekends, make a FB event and invite all. Making care packages for soldiers or flood victims? Selfie that!
Sports: Live FB feed from meets / games with peers (Parents can help video from the stands)
Hobbies: If it fits with your desired major, post away! If not leave it out.
o   Good Example: If you are a big gamer or Cos-Player or like computers and are going into art, theater, design or graphics etc., then post plenty of events, projects and group photos at festivals or conventions. Show how much you love it...colleges want passion in their students!
o   Bad Example: Hoping to get into a top Nursing Program? Don't post party pics on Facebook from 3AM. Hoping to score a big scholarship for accounting at an Ivy School? Don't flood Instagram with only

Some smart "College Planning-Friendly" posts for your Social Media Feeds:

·         Visiting a College
o   Pictures in front of the College Sign wearing a school hoodie
o   Selfies with the tour guide or Dept Head in a classroom
o   Use comments like:
§  "I love (Tag College Name)! I love their engineering program and their dorms are so nice"
§  "Met some great people at (Tag College Name)...I want to go here so bad!"
§  "Fingers crossed that I get into (Tag College Name)! This would be a great fit for me!"
o   Even if you visit multiple colleges, still post about each unique in your comments. The college admissions staff will likely see your multiple visits as a sign you are serious about college and even consider more financial aid to sway your view of them.

·         Sports Teams
o   Sports show teamwork, dedication, personal achievement and focus: Post often showing progress and the fun you are having
o   Win 11th or 4th or even 1st place? Post it with your award!
o   Videos of you competing can be casual or professional: If you are hoping for sports scholarship, then post higher-quality, edited content
o   Selfies with the team on and off the field
o   Use comments like:
§  "(Tag College Name) has a pretty good sports program...can't wait to go there to show my skills"
§  "I definitely will go to all the games at (Tag College Name)...Looking forward to going in the fall"

·         Work Time
o   If you have a job, college admissions staff will view you as a young adult that is organized, reliable, hard-working and responsible. Posting from work will help your image
o   Have customers post positive testimonials about you, tagging your name so it shows up on your feeds. Twitter is great for viral messages
o   Pictures of the staff with you in the middle are great memories and if you comment about how much fun you are having while working hard, that is even better
o   Use comments like:
§  "Working late tonight...Making money so I can go to (Tag College Name)"
§  "Here I am at work with my favorite customers...I hope I can get a job on campus at (Tag College Name) like this!"

You get the idea...put yourself in the shoes of a College Admissions Director and ask yourself: "Will my Social Media help me get into college or not?" If Yes, bravo...keep it positive and you will do fine. But if it is No, you may want to delete some sketchy posts or maybe even delete your entire existing account and start fresh.

Hope this helps!

The College Planning Group
Canton MA     800-985-8569