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High School Students, Social Media and Admissions

More and more admissions officers are looking at social-networking sites to evaluate applicants. Make sure what your student has posted won’t negatively affect any views.  Some college admissions officers said they had rejected students because of what they had seen and/or read on Internet sites like Facebook or personal blog pages.
Here are some general guidelines for keeping admissions chances safe:
1. Students should not write anything negative about colleges.  One student praised the school while visiting the campus then trashed it online.  Admissions took notice and the student was rejected.
2.  Teens must learn never to post anything online that is incriminating or embarrassing.  Ever.  Representatives have reported receiving anonymous Facebook and Google “tips”, around admissions time, including photos of students doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. On at least one occasion, a tip has caused an offer of admission to be revoked. (Some tips are called in by jealous classmates (frenemies) also vying for an Ivy League school.)
3.  Students must check to see if any Facebook “friends” who have access to their profile have posted any unflattering comments or tagged questionable photos with their name.  If there is something they do not want to be connected to, Students must un-tag themselves and talk to the person who posted the pictures and ask to have them taken down.
4. Teens must remove phone numbers and addresses from Facebook. This makes it harder to do a search for your student.  It’s a safety guideline, as well.
5.  Students must set their privacy filter as strongly as possible, but never assume that what they post will not be seen. (see #2)
6.  Student should use the “grandparent test.” If a student wouldn’t want the grandparents to see what was posted online, then it should not be posted.  This goes for things on a personal wall or webpage, or someone else’s.  Make sure your student’s friends know about this test policy, too.
7.  Students should specifically remove all photos and posts that have: Drinking and/or drugs, even if the child is abstaining; wild behavior, even if alcohol or drugs aren’t in the picture; nudity; hints of sex or sexuality; the X-rated and the R-rated; interests that are questionable; favorite quotes that reference illegal activities; obscene or offensive language and/or activities; anything that might be regretted including venting or complaints.

Using the Internet to one’s advantage during the admissions process.

The Internet is not all bad.

Students can use the Internet to show admissions counselors that they have a real passion for something, and that they’re proud of their work.   If your teen is an artist or fashion designer, they should post photos of their art. Musicians or athletes should create a webpage or site devoted to their talents. Gifted writers should start a blog. Academically oriented kids can post progress on a science experiment or that they made the history bee team.  All students can note their awards and victories, positive moments in their volunteer work or internships. Students can also express interest in the colleges to which they are applying. They can accomplish this by “friending” a college’s Facebook page, or becoming a Twitter follower. They should not friend admissions representatives directly.

For help from an experienced college advisor, please contact the expert college counselors at International College Counselors, http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com.


This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 200 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.