College Admissions: Not Just About Grades Anymore
Thousands of high school graduates are headed off to college in the weeks ahead. Congratulations to all the new collegians, and good luck!
Is your teenager working toward attending the college of their dreams? It turns out, getting good grades is only part of the admissions process. Nowadays, your child's online reputation can be a factor in whether they are accepted or not.
A recent survey by Kaplan found that 24% of college admissions officers reported visiting applicants' social media pages, while 20% Googled them to learn more. What's even more striking, 12% said what they found online negatively impacted the candidates’ admissions chances. For business school and law school admission officers, these numbers are even higher.
So how can you help your teenager make sure they are putting their best foot forward online? Here are some key tips for managing an online footprint:
- Search yourself (or your teen) on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. See what comes up. You can't clean up an online reputation if you don't know what's out there.
- Make sure your child's social media accounts are set to private and limit public searchability settings.
- Encourage your teenager to keep their profile photo appropriate. Even if their accounts are set to private (and only friends can see their posts and pictures), their name and profile photo are often still visible to the world. Make sure that key picture is an image they want to present to a college.
- When applying to colleges, remove past posts from public view. This is a good time to clean up previous postings and make sure all social media accounts have only current and appropriate messaging.
- Take control of tagging! Your teenager's posts may be appropriate, but what are their friends saying about them? Facebook's default settings allow friends to tag your teen in their photos, profile posts and even check them into places. You can adjust these settings to be more private.
- Encourage your child to be smart and think about everything they post online before they do it. Teach them that the internet has a long memory. After all their hard work, you wouldn't want an inappropriate Facebook photo or offensive tweet to keep them out of a top school!
High grades, extra curricular activities, and charity work may all matter - but getting into college is even more complicated than that. Now you have to take your child’s online reputation into consideration. The good news is, good online habits can make a difference in protecting your child’s good name.
Tagged as: college, college admissions, managing online reputation, monitor social networking, Online Reputation, social networking