Use Instagram to Impress College Admission Officers

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November 18, 2014

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!


Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.


Director of College Advising

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.


Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

This app is listed in the Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
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This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

Instagram is a great source for admission officers to find out if a candidate is Light, Bright & Polite™.

Instagram is an extremely popular photo and video sharing app. At least 75% US teens and 30% of adults 18+  have Instagram accounts ( CBS News & WhaTech). It allows you to explore millions of pictures from amazing places around the the world, as well as from Insta-photographers, who live in your neighborhood. Instagram is even widely used by talented artists as their work portfolios.

Companies posts pictures of products to promote their businesses.  Yet, most users just share their everyday moments with friends and followers. In spite of almost limitless possibilities to show a wonderful world around us, the most popular photos posted on Instagram are selfies. Moreover, some people’s self esteem depends on the number of likes their photos collect (Quartz). It comes to no surprise that most Instagram accounts could tell a very detailed stories about their owners.

Each Instagram account can tell a very detailed story, but is it a good story?

The main question in this case would be “Is it the story you actually want others to know?” Many researches confirm that college admission officers and hiring managers search their applicants online before to make a final decision. Instagram could be a great source for them to find out if a candidate is as Light, Bright and Polite™ as they appear in their college application forms. In this article we will explain how important to have a good Instagram “portfolio” and what can you do to create a positive online image.

Why is it important to have good photos?

Your Instagram photos tell more about you than the message below each pic.
  1. Colleges and employers are searching their applicants online. In a highly competitive environment you can use this in your favor.
  2. Colleges DO have time to check your photos. During application process colleges are analyzing thousands of  candidates’ resumes. Most of applications look very similar, that’s why college admission officers need to look for additional sources of information.
  3. Colleges CAN see photos that appear in search results and are posted on Instagram and/or shared on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. Your Instagram forms their first impression as an applicant.
  5. Your photos tell more about you than the message below each pic. However, don’t disregard the caption, better include more “thanks” than “hate” words.

How can Instagram help or hurt your future?

Instagram can be a great way to support your story, or it can be diversion from it.
  • You describe in your resume/application your accomplishments and skills. You are trying hard to be an exceptional candidate, because you want to be selected over others.
  • Instagram can be a great way to support your story, or it can be diversion from it.
  • Photos quickly show the college admission officers what your hobbies are, who your friends are, and what you will do in your free time on campus.
  • If they can’t quickly find your account (in case it’s private or you have a fake name), they will keep searching and perhaps find someone else that looks like you with the same name (or get frustrated or confused).
  • You decide: Are you going to use Instagram to tell a college about your Friday night party, your selfies or your volunteer work/projects and use it as a resume builder?

What can college applicants do?

Sit down with your friends and have them tell you what Instagram images are your best (and worst).
  1. Follow positive influencers on Instagram and see what are they posting.
  2. Sit down with your friends and have them tell you what images are your best (and worst).
  3. Ask your friends what photos you should delete from your account.
  4. Help your friends to clear up their Instagram accounts, and suggest which photos should be kept.Post
  5. more photos of beautiful places you’ve visited, good friends you have, great time spended with your family and adorable pets, your favorite sport activities, and interesting hobbies. Be grateful in your picture descriptions, share your excitement and positive comments.
  6. Avoid posting pictures from parties and night clubs, red cups and bottles with alcohol or any cigarettes. Take less bathroom selfies and silly faces photos, but more of happy and joyfool moments.
  7. Keep each post Light, Bright & Polite™.

We hope that our tips will help you to use Instagram to stand out for college admission officers.  Share your tips and ask us questions about how to use social media to become the best candidate.

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