According to experts, colleges want more than just high test scores and a solid essay from applicants. They also want students with good character. To that end, many colleges check an applicant’s social media and/or online “footprint.”

 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:



  • 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


  • 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, their future employer just might. 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, along with their face? What kinds of posts are their friends tagging them in? Do a check and ensure that every post and comment follows the T.H.I.N.K. principle: Is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and/or Kind? If not, clean it up!

Encourage your teen to delete posts that do not show their true wonderful self. If your family would like further guidance with the college application process, schedule a College Assessment Plan call with me here.