You may not know this, but what you do privately in your free time and online can affect your chances of getting in (and staying in) your dream school or dream career.
Why should students care?
- Colleges search for you online to get a more complete picture of who you are as a student
- Everything you do online can be discovered, even things like Snapchat messages which disappear or exchanges that are made through private messaging
Why colleges care
- Colleges want to ensure that the students they accept will be a positive representation of their school
- Students will represent the college as an extension of their brand for the rest of the student’s life (and to everyone in their network)
- Colleges have a choice when it comes to who they let into their network, so they are very selective as to who gets in
- Students who have negative content associated with their digital footprint are seen as a branding liability for schools and employers
- Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established in 1636, whose history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world’s most prestigious universities
- Out of 39,506 applicants, only 2,038 (5.4%) were accepted for the incoming class of 2021
- Many of the 2,000+ incoming freshman students were invited into a private Facebook group to get to know each other
- Some of the incoming freshman invited others to be a part of a sub-group for sharing funny memes
- Some kids posted racist and obscene posts in the sub-group
How students got kicked out of Harvard because of their behavior on social media
- Harvard found out about the sub-group (and it’s racists posts) and rescinded acceptances for at least 10 students over their behavior in the PRIVATE Facebook group
- Harvard took screenshots of the content and revoked their acceptances
Why does this matter?
- Each of these students had already said NO to all of their other schools
- Now their names are online as students who were expelled from the freshman class of Harvard
- They will need to re-apply to other schools (and admissions probably will discover their past behaviors with an online search)
How does this affect your future?
- Partaking in negative online behaviors can drive away opportunities that might come your way
- Teens who act negatively online tend to attract negativity from others online, especially if they are using anonymous apps