When going through the admissions process, a college applicant with a positive online reputation and social media presence stands out from the applicants who haven’t put effort into their digital footprints. With so many different networks available, it can be confusing for students to determine which social media platforms will benefit their online footprint and search results. So, we asked 5 experts to share their best tips on using social media as a college applicant. Learn which networks can have a positive impact on a student’s search results, how to post in impactful ways, and how to engage with colleges online.
1. Track accomplishments with LinkedInMark Kantrowitz, Cappex.com, @MKant
Following a college’s social media accounts and interacting with the college on social media in a meaningful way is a way of learning about and demonstrating interest in the college. Some colleges factor demonstrated interest into their admissions decisions, since they prefer to admit students who will enroll in the college.
Students can also use LinkedIn to track their accomplishments. Not only is this an effective substitute for the locker concept promoted by the Coalition application, but it gets you a head start on an online resume for finding a job after you graduate. It is easier to keep track of events and accomplishments as they occur than to try to remember them afterward.
2. Build a social media presence that aligns with your intended majorCharlene Vermeulen, Author
The savvy college applicant begins building a social media presence that closely aligns with his or her intended major or college. For example, if a student favors a business major, what better background to build than posts and links about the latest business trends, or skills essential for the business major?
Similarly, posting about public service projects, mission trips, volunteerism, and school clubs and trainings benefit the college applicant as well.
Since colleges look for students with the maturity to handle the freedom college life offers, applicants who already show dedication to public service, volunteerism, and strong passion for helping others stand out in the digital stack of applications.
It’s all about building solid public relations years before you go public.
3. Create a storyDavid Levy, Edvisors Network, @DLevy818
Students should know that besides admissions offices, seventy-five percent of scholarship providers are looking for signs of bad judgment such as provocative photographs, illegal activities (drug or underage alcohol use), discriminatory remarks, etc. Students should clean-up their social media accounts of anything offensive or illegal from websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
To stand out on social media during college admissions, students may want to consider enlisting input from friends and family to help them create a story about themselves. Instead of videos, photos and posts that mainly consist of the student, ask family members, neighbors, teachers, and individuals from community organizations (if involved in outreach or volunteer efforts) to contribute posts that help tell a story about why the student would make a great candidate for admission at XYZ University. Think of it as creating a “campaign” where individuals provide fun quotes, testimonials, and photos that show the student in action doing things they’ve described in their admission essay, etc.
4. Post photos of your achievements in a humble and positive mannerDr. Shirag Shemmassian, Shemmassian Academic Consulting
Communicating with top-choice schools via social media is a great way to show them that you’re interested in attending their school specifically. It’s not enough to like or follow a school, but to actually engage with admissions officers and current students. That way, when a student is asked why they want to attend on their supplemental applications, they can refer to all the insider info they’ve gathered via communicating with the school. It will seem much more sincere than if the student simply reviewed the school website.
A second way to leverage social media is for students to post photos and information about achievements as they’re occurring. That way, admissions officers can become familiar with a student’s contributions and fit with their school offerings. Admissions officers will pay extra attention to those students’ applications when their names come up in the pile.
5. Share posts from the college you’re applying to and add meaningful commentaryCrystal Olivarria, Career Conversationalist, @Crystal70k
Like the social media page of the college you are applying too. Read their posts and share the ones you like best. Add a few sentences of meaningful thought when you share the post on your profile. This way when college admission staff check out your profile they see your comments about their school. They will see you as an active engaged student who will “fit in” well to their campus.