70% of Colleges and High School Students Agree That Social Profiles Are ‘Fair Game’ During the Admissions Process
Recent Kaplan Test Prep surveys show that US college admissions officers and high school students are on the same page when it comes to social media profiles: 68% of colleges and 70% of students said that social posts are “fair game” when evaluating applicants for admission.
Even so, this year revealed a dip in the number of admissions officers using social media to qualify prospective students: Only 29% said they follow this practice (down from 35% in 2017 and the 40% peak in 2015).
Still, as Kaplan cautions, “lest applicants think that what they post online can’t be held against them once they are already accepted, they should think again.” The 2018 admissions officer survey found that nearly 10% of colleges have rescinded an admissions offer to an incoming student because of something discovered on social media. Last year, 10 incoming Harvard University freshman lost their offers because of content shared in a private Facebook group — an incident that should serve as a cautionary tale to all students.
But the News Isn’t Entirely Negative
As we said in the intro, social media can have a decidedly positive influence on those we connect with. It’s in these moments that we can see the benefits of taking a forward-looking approach to the content we share and the impact it could have within and outside of the confines of our posts and the circles of friends we regularly interact with.
Those who keep a professional persona in mind when posting can reap the rewards with prospective employers. The CareerBuilder survey revealed that social research can also move the dial in a positive direction for candidates. Some employers said they have been prompted to hire job applicants based on the following discoveries:
- Background information that supported job qualifications (37%)
- Displays of creativity (34%)
- Professional image (33%)
- Wide range of interests, reflecting a well-rounded person (31%)
- An impression that the candidate’s personality would be a good fit for company culture (31%)
- Great communications skills (28%)
- Awards and accolades (26%)
- Great references (23%)
- Interaction with the hiring organization’s social media accounts (22%)
- Compelling content (e.g., videos) posted by candidate (21%)
- Large number of followers/subscribers (18%)
Bottom Line: Keep Your Eye on the Prize
The simple reality with social sharing is that putting certain pieces of content out there for the world to see can come back to haunt you — and not simply from a cybersecurity perspective. It’s something we should all be mindful of — and a message that parents, teachers, and caregivers should be passing on to younger social users, particularly those mistakenly lulled into believing that “disappearing” content on platforms like Snapchat can’t be captured and publicized.
Before you click to share, remind yourself: Any post on any social app can live for eternity and be shared with anyone — regardless of privacy settings and regardless of whether the post was deleted. Screen captures and copy/paste functions can give items a life beyond the limits you think you’ve set. If you wouldn’t broadcast it in a crowded theater full of friends and foes alike, it’s probably best kept off of social media.
You can find additional advice about social media safety on our blog.