Who’s monitoring what you put online? I know, I know: Everyone from your parents and guidance counselors to teachers and coaches say the same thing. Once you put something up online, it’s hard to take it down. But it’s hard to always keep that in mind when everything, from everyone, is trending online.
According to The Guardian, 75 percent of millennials – the generation that includes both you and me – have an account.
So while it’s important to make sure you don’t put anything compromising online, and to take down anything questionable as soon as possible, it’s just as important to think about how you can use your online presence to put your best foot forward.
1. Use your social media platforms to prove your personality.
It’s getting harder and harder to grab the attention of college admissions officers, even for students who stereotypically have it easy – like heavily-recruited football players. But a good social media presence can help student-athletes gain the attention of coaches in a positive way.
“Colleges are absolutely looking at students’ social media profiles,” Aaron Sorenson, a social media community manager at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, says. “The coaches and admissions officers I talk to always say they’re looking for three things: if high school athletes are posting appropriate things themselves, if they’re retweeting or following any inappropriate accounts, and if they’re being respectful to their friends and followers.”
Remember: It’s just as easy to see what a social media user favorites, likes or retweets, as it is to see what that user has written.
And just because there are so many people online doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fall through the cracks; universities hire specialists just to make sure applicants are behaving online. Recently, Ohio State University even hired a new social media director just to watch the accounts of potential football recruits.
2. Use your social media platforms to highlight your accomplishments.
Whether it’s videos of an awesome play you recently made for your varsity squad or a photo of you right before a piano recital, you should always celebrate the great things you’ve accomplished on your favorite social media platforms.
Who knows – maybe you forgot to mention an accomplishment in your application essays, but an admissions officer looking into your social media presence notices a photo you put up of some charitable work you did with a school club.
That positive proof of your personality outside the classroom can add a new dimension to the applications you send to colleges.
So the next time your parents, teachers or coaches tell you to be careful about what you post on your social media look them in the eye, smile, and say: I know. I’m proving what kind of person I am to colleges online.