Would Grandma Approve of Your Facebook Page?

Yes, colleges are looking at your Facebook and other social media accounts.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Pheed—-the list of social networking options is seemingly endless.  We use them practically 24/7, sometimes with the mistaken notion that they are forms of private communication rather than public fora.  The illusion that our children, nieces, nephews, and If you wouldn't say it to your grandmother don't post it onlinegrandchildren often cling to, i.e., that only friends and acquaintances want or need to follow them online, is just that.  Indeed, once they enter high school, they are ever more likely to be scrutinized by outside parties that have a vested interest in their online activity.  College admission offices, scholarship committees, internship sponsors, and employers are increasingly likely to peruse a candidate’s online presence as part of their decision-making processes.

I strongly recommend children to make an honest assessment of their online activity by considering the following:  What do pictures and posts on Facebook reveal about them?  Do they routinely tweet four-letter-words?  Are there online pictures or YouTube videos accessible by the general public that show them in embarrassing attire or potentially compromising situations?  Have they written disparaging comments about teachers, coaches, employers, or other students?  If there is any online content that might sabotage their academic or employment aspirations, now is the time for them to clean up their act.  Competition for scholarships, college admission, internships, summer programs, and jobs is fierce;   why reduce or even eliminate the chance for consideration by posting material that calls into question their judgment, character, and taste.

A good rule of thumb when evaluating use of social media is for children to ask themselves if they would want a grandparent to access their social media accounts to read and view everything about them.  If they can truthfully answer “yes”, hooray!  If the thought of grandma (or grandpa) viewing their Facebook page or other social media makes them want to run and hide, it’s time for some ruthless purging and a new approach to maintaining their online presence.

 

 

Julie Cunningham (5 Posts)

I'm a former school counselor who made the transition to college consulting in 2010. Although I miss the energy and excitement that come with working in a large public high school, I don't miss the despair that I often felt in trying to care properly for the 375+ students in my case load. Not being able to know the stories, hopes, fears, and aspirations of each of them, which is what they deserved, prompted me to change professions. Working as an independent college consultant allows me to provide focused attention to each client. We are then able to navigate the admission process together with purpose and serenity. I am passionate about helping high school students with every aspect of college admission and enjoy the opportunity to build strong relationships with them along with way.


Comments

  1. I am constantly talking to my kids about this! With colleges and employers scrutinizing social media accounts, it’s really important for them to keep it clean!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted..3 Reasons You Should Think Twice Before Sharing OnlineMy Profile

  2. Great piece. It’s very true that colleges are looking at social media when making admissions decisions. I am a former Admissions Director and we would look at social media accounts of many of our applicants. There are many reason an admissions or scholarship committee would decide to review social media. Like you said, be safe and don’t post anything that would not pass the “grandma test.” In addition, I would also caution students to NOT delete their social media accounts after reading that admissions committees review social media accounts. If a student has no social media presence, the committee may ask, “What is the student hiding?”

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