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Blog > Social Media > Applying to College? Check Your Social Media
 August 15, 2022

Applying to College? Check Your Social Media

Young person and father working on a college application.

Whether you’re actively applying for university or college, currently enrolled and looking at further education, or considering any form of tertiary education, the reality is that your social media may affect you more than you realize.

For more than a decade, college admissions officers have been being surveyed by Kaplan to identify trends and important factors when it comes to applying to college. The role of an applicant’s social media has been tracked, and just as the use of social media has become more widespread, so too has its impact on the college admissions process.

Do admissions officers check social media?

Kaplan’s 2020 survey identified that 65% of admissions officers consider it “fair game” to consider the social media profiles of applicants when making admissions decisions, up from 59% in 2019 and 57% in 2018.

From this, it’s clear that it is only becoming more popular for admissions officers to look up an applicant’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or any other form of social media. And it is clear why: as the world (especially following the pandemic) has turned more and more towards the internet, these online profiles are the new way to gauge a broader picture of someone’s interests, image and community.

While it may feel daunting to think of someone in the admissions office of your dream college typing your name into the search bar, there are ways to prepare you for this likelihood.

How to prepare for college admissions

You don’t have to be an online ghost

While it may be tempting to make all of your accounts private (or even delete them!), it’s important to remember that admissions officers are people who understand nuance. They realize that most young people have an online life, and this can actually be something that works in your favor. Of the surveyed admissions officers who say they do check social media, 42% say that what they have found has had a positive impact on prospective students.

So, instead of deleting everything, consider your social media accounts as an extension of your application. It’s a great place to share hobbies, interests and social causes, and may help present you as a well-rounded person and applicant.

Consider what you post, before you post it

The easiest way to combat the anxiety that comes with knowing that your social media is being examined is to make sure there is nothing problematic linked to any of your accounts. Before you publish anything across your social media accounts, take a moment to consider it from the eyes of a prospective college or internship.

This does not necessarily mean that you have to be a prude, but there is a responsibility that comes with online sharing. Now is the time to consider your personal values and how they coincide with your dream college and career path.

Use an automated service

The likelihood is that you’ve been using social media for years at this point. Although you may have a more sensible approach to online sharing these days, your younger self may not have been so wise.

Rather than having to go through years of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or more recently TikTok posts, there are online tools available that do the checks for you.

Services, like those included as part of your IDShield membership, use advanced algorithms to check your accounts for anything that could affect your college application, such as nudity, swearing, drinking, illegal activity, or any other photos or statements that could reflect negatively upon you. If anything is flagged, you are then able to seamlessly approve or delete it from one intuitive dashboard, saving hours of time and the possibility of missing something crucial.

Not just for pre-college

As Angel Pérez, CEO of The National Association for College Admission Counselling (NACAC), points out, it is not just the college admissions process that can be affected by your social media posting history. “I know employers who look at the social media feeds of potential interns and employees. There are scholarship providers who look at them too,” making it clear that the importance of self-monitoring social media is important in every stage of a career.

As the world has adopted social media, so too have our professional lives. When considering the path ahead for college, further education or work experience, understanding that your social media will likely affect you is a crucial step towards taking control of your career.

IDShield is here to help

Reputation Management, a feature of IDShield, analyzes your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to find any posts, photos or videos that may be harmful to your online persona. The search results are easily presented in a personalized dashboard, with simple, actionable steps to either approve or delete any flagged content.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for IDShield, scan your social media and get started cleaning up your online presence today so you can be confident you’re putting your best foot forward online, regardless of the situation!

IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) and provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. IDShield plans are available at individual or family rates. A family plan covers the named member, named member’s spouse or domestic partner and eligible dependent children under the age of 18. For complete terms, coverage, and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. An Identity Fraud Protection Plan (“Plan”) is issued through a nationally recognized carrier. IDShield/PPLSI is not an insurance carrier. This covers certain fraud expenses and legal costs as a result of a covered identity fraud event. See a Plan for complete terms, coverage, conditions, limitations, and family members who are eligible under the Plan.


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