How to use Social Media effectively in College Admissions?
By Gary Keung
(Admissions Consultant at The Edge Learning Center)
In or out? The increasing importance admissions placed to your Social Media accounts and how to use it to YOUR advantage.
As the college admissions results are being released in batches at this time of the year, many students may happily share their excitement on being accepted by their dream colleges—via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. What they might not know, however, is what they regularly shares may have been one of the deciding factors for college admissions officers to access an applicant.
It would certainly sound farfetched to say that an admission officer will screen and plow through every applicants’ Facebook or Twitter account. Just imagine the time it will take to type your name, your email, or your phone number just to see if a result will come up! However, based on the latest survey of admissions officers by Kaplan Test Prep, 35% of the 350 college admissions officers surveyed reported that they do check applicants’ social media profiles—that’s one out of every three admissions officers.
Additionally, the survey also highlighted that comparing to last year—only 11% of the admissions officers who check an applicant’s social media account do so often, this year shows more than two-fold increase: 25%.
So what does it mean for the student? Many articles have used the survey result to warn the student to think twice before posting their spring party pictures or spur-of-the-moment statements that may hint inappropriate behavior in college. Nevertheless, we at The Edge would focus on discussing how you may use your social media account to your advantage. Below are some use of the social media that we have found effective in our experience:
Setting up Businesses – an aspiring entrepreneur came to us and as we brainstormed ideas for her activities she mentioned that she would sometimes sell accessories by posting pictures of the products on Instagram. We coached and assisted her in setting up a store in Instagram and she ended up making a significant profit through the store. Through mentioning her achievement in her essay, she received an acceptance letter with a personalized comment on the committee being impressed by her storefront design and products.
Showcasing Portfolio – many aspiring artists will come to know Slideroom when they submit their portfolio to prospective colleges. What they often neglect is that an outstanding portfolio is not built in one day. Hence, utilizing artistic social network such as DeviantArt is a great way to organize one’s art pieces and get critique from others, and to even enter into competitions and contests. For budding cinematic and musical talents, the popularity of and high-quality work featured on one’s YouTube channel do turn the heads of admissions officers.
Demonstrating Interest – By “liking” a college’s page on Facebook or following its tweeter, the student is not only showing interest in the college but also putting him or herself under the college’s radar when the admissions officers is looking for more information from the applicant before making the final decision. 2 years ago, a college invited its prospective applicants through tweeter to showcase their “artistic side”. For one applicant we suggested to post a video she created discussing the perception of beauty, the other applicant was an audio recording to demonstrate his passion for singing. Needless to say, both were accepted by the college.
In a nutshell, many reports would be cautioning the students to “hide yo posts, hide yo tweets” because a meaningful of admissions officers do look up their social media accounts to get a better sense of the applicants. But what we would advocate is to think of creative ways to utilize them to showcase achievements and abilities the students do not get to mention in their applications.