Monthly Features

Are Your Social Media Posts too Social?

Recent presidents of Adams State University, University of Louisville and Iowa Central Community College have something more in common other than their profession.  Each of them was criticized, and has been removed from their position, due to poor social media choices. These are intelligent, successful, well-education individuals. The negative ripple effect of social media knows no age, race or creed. Could it happen to you?

As we post photos online in this social media driven age, we are allowing access to our lives, even to people we don’t think have access. The picture of you and your best friend at your high school graduation? Your university admissions counselor may have seen it. Your senior prom photos? Your future employer may stumble across them. Universities and employers are now making it common practice to filter through applicants’ social media feeds, from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter; and your photos are not as private as you think.  A 2016 Kaplan Test Prep study shows that 37% of university admission counselors discover posts that decrease a student’s chance of admission.  

You can be diligent about your privacy settings, and you can monitor your own postings, but the social media age poses new challenges every day, as you cannot control what others post about you, or what pictures of you they share. Remember that bonfire your friend posted pictures of, where other kids had alcohol in their hands? You may not be drinking, and you may be able to ask them to remove it, but that image remains in the digital memory of the internet, forever. It is never really gone, and it is depicting you in a less than flattering light. Consider the image it creates when a university, which looks for students who share its core values, sees an academically talented applicant with a social media presence littered with questionable behavior. It can seal their fate at their desired institution.  

It is expected your applications for college and future employment will be judged, but your generation does not have the luxury of being judged solely on credentials. Instead, you are being judged on your academic credentials, your extra-curricular activities, your community involvement, and your digital brand and presence.  Yariv Alpher, Executive Director of Research at Kaplan Test Prep said, “For better or worse, social media has become an establish factor in college admissions, and it’s more important than ever for applicants to make wise decisions.”

Publication Date: April 2018