Schools are scouring applicants’ social media activity before sending letters of acceptance.
Your honor student gets straight As, has built schools in third world countries, been president of the student body, but is still at risk for not getting into their dream college? Say what? Well, getting that acceptance letter in the mail may have a lot to do with whether or not your child is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites—and whether they use them responsibly. According to a new study from Kaplan Test Prep, schools are scouring applicants’ social media activity and if there are risqué pictures, poor judgment, or even bad language, that could mean a black mark on an otherwise stellar resume
The Kaplan study found there has been a five percent increase in the number of schools scouring applicants’ social media activity. 29 percent of admissions offices do an internet search on students while 31 percent check out Facebook activity. And, they don’t just stop there: Admissions personnel are savvy to increasing social media sites and usage including Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and more.
How to combat schools scouring applicants’ social media activity? Abstinence from social media might be best, but is not so realistic. So, if your kids are going to use it, here are the best ways to ensure they are safe from schools scouring applicants’ social media activity.
Colleges Checking Social Media Sites: Tips for Staying Safe
1. Tighten privacy controls. There are ways that students can ensure even tighter privacy controls on their profiles, change their user names and the like. It’s not fool-proof, but a good start.
2. Be selective. Encourage your child not to be a “friend collector.” Meaning, they shouldn’t just accept friends just to up their numbers. It pays to be discerning about who you are associating with online, because even if your child’s Facebook is impeccable, a “friend” who they really have nothing to do with might exhibit completely inappropriate behavior and your child’s association with that person can easily fall under the "poor judgment category."
3. Refrain from bad behavior. Drinking underage is not good. And, taking pictures of yourself doing it and posting it is even worse. Same goes for smoking or any other behavior your child would not want to admit to doing. Same can be said for being pictured with other kids doing it, even if your child is not, as well as discussing it or even being in the thread of a conversation.
4. Untag yourself. In social media, you can get roped into an activity even if you are not doing the posting. Friends can tag your child in a uncompromising pic that he or she should not be associated with. That’s why it’s always a good idea to tell kids to not only peruse their own site for unsightly activity, but also to check where you’ve been tagged.
5. Keep it clean. Do not curse on your pages. Apparently bad language, although not illegal by any sense, is frowned upon by schools scouring applicants’ social media activity.
We’ve always told our kids to be wary of online behavior, but now we have even more numbers to prove just how dangerous it can be.
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