I was recently asked to contribute to a blog for a college website designed to answer hot topic questions for college applicants. The question for that posting was: Can what I post on facebook actually hurt my chances of getting accepted?
My reply was yes, what is posted on Facebook can potentially hurt chances of acceptances. I warn students of this every year. Most colleges, especially the large ones, do not have the time or interest for policing facebook postings. However, they potentially could, so why take the risks? We hear in the news where politicians are caught and face consequences due to an unwise posting, as are unfaithful spouses, employees… The chances may be low, but as we all know, what is put in writing can come back to haunt us. The same goes for Twitter or any other social media network.
Facebook postings can also hinder students in keeping acceptances. As travel budgets and resources are cut in college admissions offices, many are enhancing their social media focus to connect with students. Therefore, as you “friend” a college, they can potentially see what you and your friends post. Admissions officers may also google to find out more information about you before they interview you, or to verify something that really stands out in your application. This could lead them straight to your facebook page.
Recently, I heard two Admissions Deans discuss how posts cost students; one an acceptance and one a scholarship. One posted about an underage, illegal activity he planned on providing his freshman year; his acceptance was rescinded. The other trashed the college, disappointed that she wasn’t accepted to her first-choice school. She was being considered for a substantial scholarship, which was awarded to another student because of her post.
Beyond admissions, postings could potentially hurt your chances of acceptance into groups you may want to join, such as student government, fraternities or sororities, and perhaps more detrimental, a future employer. Colleges may be called for roommate changes, based on what is seen on facebook. Do you really want to start your college experience with this baggage, after you have worked so hard for so long for an acceptance? Colleges and employers want to see students who have integrity, ethics, moral standards and sound reasoning. Consider this when making public any information about yourself.