In their final year of high school, every action of your goal-oriented child is another stepping stone to help them get into the right college. They will be focused on entrance exams, college applications, and financial aide forms–everything on their checklist they think will launch them into success. A key step they could miss in the process is getting their social media profiles prepared for college scrutiny.
More than 60% of college admission counselors say they regularly look at the social media profiles of applicants. Over half say that they give considerable weight to a student’s social media profile. This means he could pay a big price for that picture on Tumblr of him at the spring break keg party or his Facebook post of what he really thinks of his history teacher. If you don’t think a single picture posted on social media could bear a heavy cost, look no further than Belgian teenager Axelle Despielgelaere who lost a modeling contract because of a Facebook post or Patrick Welch who had the State Basketball Player of the Year Award rescinded because of a Twitter post.
The last thing you want is for your senior to put in endless hours of studying and work only to have it blown because of foolish online mistake. Thirty eight percent of admission counselors say that a prospective student’s chances of getting into their school was harmed because of their social media profile. Sadly, it’s a mistake your “live for the moment” child could easily make if you don’t help them see the big picture. Here are five tips to share with your college bound child to help them get their social media profiles ready for a recruiter’s eyes.
Give a trusted adult full access to your social media accounts for one day.
Ask your parent, teacher, or coach to read anything on your Facebook from the perspective of an adult who doesn’t know you. Ask them to look for anything that might be a red flag. The key is you must be willing to trust that if they say, “Delete this picture or remove this friend,” that they have your best interest in mind. You should do the same thing on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media profiles.
Untag yourself on Facebook.
Unlike Instagram, you can manually untag yourself from posts that others have made that include you. A friend could post an inappropriate comment or photo and “tag” you it. You are now associated with that post and it could be damaging to your own reputation. Review everything in your Facebook timeline history from the beginning where you have been tagged.
Set your account to “Review before posting” status.
Facebook will allow you to review anything that is placed in your timeline. This is a must. This will allow you to only have things show up on your timeline that you want there.
Create your own social media resume on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the most popular place for professionals to connect. Your senior should take early advantage of this to be their first resume. Its not just to post your past job experience. Its primarily to show who you are networked with and who recommends you. Go to respect adults you know, tell them what you are doing on LinkedIn, and ask if you can connect with them. Ask them to endorse you for particular skills such as community service, missions, leadership, etc. If you have worked for the, even if it is childcare or mowing their lawn, ask them to write a recommendation for you. Make yourself compelling.
Treat Facebook like a shop window.
Let Facebook be a place where people only see the “goodies” that you want them to see–the things that cast you in a positive light. Talk about your volunteerism, post photos of you with your family, talk about your bobbies and interests, and share your dreams for college and life. Reclaim your social media to tell the story of you!