Social Media is Becoming a New Factor in College Admissions


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With over 77% of teenagers having social media, it is now being used as a factor in college applications.

Dylan Gates, Media Director

Beyond essays, transcripts and teacher recommendations lies another factor now being considered in college applications: social media. In 2017, ten Harvard freshmen had their applications rescinded due to their obscene social media accounts, marking the beginning of an era when social media accounts are considered in the admissions process.

In a recent study conducted by Kaplan Review, “admissions officials at more than two-thirds of colleges [said] it’s ‘fair game’ for them to review applicants’ social media profiles on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to help them decide who gets in.”

Colleges looking at applicant’s social media accounts is not necessarily a negative factor in admissions; in fact, social media can help applicants just a much as it can hurt them.

“One student described on Twitter that she facilitated an LGBTQ panel for her school, which wasn’t in her application. This made us more interested in her overall and encouraged us to imagine how she would help out the community,” according to an admissions officer in the same Kaplan study.

The ethics of social media being used in admissions is a debated topic. Some people think it is inappropriate for admissions officers to be investigating social media accounts, even if they are marked as “private.”

“I think that colleges should form their ideas of us based on our academics, extracurriculars and even face-to-face meetings instead of looking at our social media personas which, most of the time, don’t reflect who we really are,” junior Aubrey Johnston said.

Students are becoming more aware of their social media presence during college applications, and are being guided by their counselors.

“Students should think first and ask themselves, ‘would my mom approve of this?’ or ‘what if this post went viral?’ to ensure that they aren’t posting information that could place them in a negative light,” counselor Ryan Itchon said.