By: Jazmin Crawford
Senior Senators are beginning to apply for colleges and they are super stressed and worried for many different reasons. I don’t know about other Seniors, but the thing I’m worried about the most is college admissions going through my social media. Social media is a big influence in many of our lives outside of school. Having the freedom to post whatever we want, whenever we want can sometimes be a bad thing. Some teenagers are mindless and don’t care what the internet sees. These are the same people that post hate and comment rude things towards other people. Yes, the post is later taken down due to the fact that the strict guidelines have been violated but is it really gone forever?
According to the New York Times, “Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have become an integral part of teenage culture. Yet the snarky comment or inappropriate picture we share with our friends just might not project the image we want the rest of the world to see, especially as we get older.” To make sure things such as this won’t happen to our Seniors, I spoke to two of our guidance counselors in the guidance department.
Mr. Southerland, a counselor in our guidance department stated, “They look for any concerning content regarding dangerous or irresponsible behavior, excessive/ reckless social life, or offensive statements/bad language, irresponsible behavior. They also look for things that stand out, like community service, professionalism, things that students post that give them a glimpse of what causes they are passionate about.” I also interviewed Counselor Ms. Kimmich and asked her the same question. Her response was, “Well, I do think that colleges will look to see what type of things you are into with your friends and clues as to your character.”
Another question I had asked our counselors is what do you believe will turn admissions people away when viewing students social media? This question was seen as quite obvious as to what you should and shouldn’t be posting on social media; but Ms. Kimmich had stated, “Mention of drinking alcohol and drug use would be a big turn off for colleges as that is one of the big concerns that colleges have (they do not want students drinking underage or using drugs illegally on campus). Also, if there are unkind, discriminatory, or harassing types of comments that would be a major negative.” Mr. Southerland had also responded to this question, “See my previous answer to the previous question…but beyond that, anything that really says that a student may not be ready for added independence and responsibility.
Anything that shows that the student may have ideologies that don't celebrate diversity (homophobia, racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, etc.).” These responses had tied to my other question as well which was, should senior’s even post on social media or should they play it safe and not post things at all? Mr. Southerland’s response to this was, “I believe it's totally fine to post appropriate content. However, my rule of thumb is if you have to second guess it, or if it something that may be passive aggressive for the purpose of stirring drama or a conversation thread, that should not be something you post- that goes for college admissions and beyond, because employers also may check social media!” Ms. Kimmich had also responded to this question and she stated, “I think that is one strategy but another is to remember that when you post things publicly you need to always think about who your audience is.”
My final question for our guidance counselors was what do you recommend seniors do to give college admissions people a “surprise” when it comes to having social media? Mr. Southerland stated, “Community service activities!!! most people will post the typical stuff about music, entertainment, and selfies....however, anything that sets a student apart is great...community service or other activities that they enjoy, pictures of trips or visits to different parts of the country (or outside of the US). Quotes, images, and clips that students find to be inspirational, positive, or impactful...if a student is a particularly great artist, posting clips of a performance, or photos or pictures they have created I'm sure give a nice inside track to who a college is researching.”
As it times for Seniors to begin applying to colleges I believe they should begin to take into consideration the fact that college admissions don’t just look over your applications. I also interviewed one of our McMahon Senior Senators, Jessica Ceja, and asked her if she was worried about what college admissions will see on her social media. “Honestly it depends on the social media they see. I use Instagram the most, but I’m not worried about them seeing what I post on there. Twitter, that can probably be a different story. And I also have a VSCO, but I barely use that app as well.” College admissions look at your social media and the things you post for the whole world to see, these should reflect who you are as a person and set you apart from other students. It is totally okay to be posting on social media, but just make sure your careful and don’t post things that are seen without you being able to explain them.