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Talk it Out: Should students’ social media posts derail their admission to a college?

April 18, 2018 GMT

Talk it Out: Should students’ social media posts derail their admission to a college?

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Today’s high school students grew up with social media and have no qualms about posting photos and comments on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. 

But should their personal views and activities derail their chances of getting into college?

Yes, say some college admissions counselors.

What do you think? Should a social media post derail the opportunity for a student to attend the college of their choice? How much weight should social media be given when considered with submitted application materials, including grade-point averages and test scores?

Join us from noon to 1 p.m. for today’s edition of Talk it Out, a constructive conversation in the comments section about the impact of social media posts and college applications.

About 70 percent of 388 admissions officers recently surveyed by Kaplan Test Prep say it is “fair game” for them to visit applicants’ social-media profiles - and the same percentage of students agree.

Nine percent of admissions officers say they had revoked an incoming student’s offer of admission because of what they found on social media.

But only 29 percent of college officials check social media, which may be because  savvy students are hiding or removing incriminating information, the survey found.

Kaplan, a company that provides preparation products for standardized tests, said a majority of admissions officers continue to rely on traditional elements of the application, such as standardized test scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

But students don’t know when they apply to a school if their social media profiles will be scrutinized.

And once admitted, students still have to be astute to what they post online.

In 2017, Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to 10 students after they traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.

The chat grew out of a roughly 100-member messaging group that members of the Class of 2021 set up to share memes about popular culture, the Crimson student newspaper reported. 

Should students follow these social media tips from the Princeton Review?

Whether it’s your email address or your Twitter handle, your username is your key identifier—keep it simple and professional.Monitor your privacy settings so that you know who can look you up, see your wall, tag you in pictures, and more. Even if you’re over Facebook, take a look at groups you might have joined in the past.Review posted photos. While you’re at it, check what photos your friends have tagged you in. Any sort of illegal or objectionable behavior should be deleted. deleteSearch for your name on Google—you might be surprised what shows up on the first few pages. 

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