Yes Son, Colleges Do Look at Your Social Media

I attended Parent Night at my son’s high school last week. These types of events are a great opportunity to chat with guidance counselors, learn about how to help your teen with the college application process, and upcoming events like financial aid, which is a MUST for parents. Check out my article, The Best Way to Work with The Guidance Counselor, for more tips.

The topic of social media came up during Parent Night. While there has been a decline in colleges checking an applicant’s social media, many schools still do. Is your teen willing to take a risk and post something that could affect their future?

I recently saw this quote:

What should your teen consider when using social media? Here are some do’s and don’ts to share with your teen regarding social media:

DON’T

  • Share images of people drinking and smoking, even if you are not
  • Post a bunch of selfies – you may come across as narcissistic
  • Discuss issues or drama you have with your peers
  • Follow people that you would not be ok with your parents’ meeting
  • Use a questionable handle or profile name, like @hotgirl. Friends will think it’s cute; prospective colleges will not

DO

  • Share fun projects you are doing at school
  • Post photos participating in volunteer activities
  • Post images participating in sports, scouts, or other positive teen group activities
  • Follow people whose careers interest you
  • Follow colleges you are interested in – it can give insight into the culture of the school

Posts should show the best of your teen. For example, my son shares the music he likes and the meals he cooks for us. Side note: He makes an amazing carbonara.

And while not all colleges check social media, guess who else will….

Their future employer. This could be for part-time work or even internships.  According to a career builder survey,

70% of employers check social media as a screening tool for whether or not they will hire someone.

I have even heard of organizations deny scholarships based on what they saw posted on an applicant’s social media.

Have your teen take a look at all their social media accounts. Would they be ok if their posts were plastered on a billboard with their face? What kinds of posts are their friends tagging them in?

Encourage your teen to delete posts that do not show their true wonderful self. I have created a free Social Media Cleaning Checklist that your teen can use as a guide. It includes additional tips like checking posts they are tagged in. Click here to access the checklist.

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