Social Media, College Admissions and the New Reality

Every year at this time, Kaplan Test Prep releases its survey of college admissions officers measuring their use of applicant social media in the admissions process. This year, based on the headline finding that more admissions officers are now looking but finding less negatives, Kaplan concluded that students must be "sanitizing" their social media for college. In an example of seeing "what is" versus "what could be," Kaplan proclaimed social media still only plays a "peripheral" role in the admissions process. This limited view is bad news for college bound students and their parents who are seeking relevant guidance on how to best navigate and optimize social media for competitive college admissions advantage.

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Alan KatzmanComment
How Social Media Aliases Make College Applicants Look Stupid

With college application season in full swing, the members of the high school graduating class of 2015 are predictably and dutifully adopting social media aliases. This practice has seemingly become a right of passage in the digital age. Unfortunately, these students fail to realize how easy it is for colleges to find them and then to draw conclusions based on this deception. Also, and perhaps even sadder, is that most parents and high school guidance counselors seem to endorse and condone this practice. 

This widespread use of adopted aliases shows the fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding social media and college admissions. Prevailing teen logic must go something like this: I am not proud of my social media and I want to go to college. I certainly do not want colleges to see this side of me so, if I hide, colleges won't find me and I will get accepted. 

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Alan Katzman Comments
Avoiding Mistaken Identity When Colleges and Employers Search Social Media

Your student possesses solid grades and test scores as well as a healthy résumé of summer experiences and extracurricular activities yet still can’t seem to attract attention from any top tier school or even secure a relevant internship.

As a parent, you have heard the stories of how social media can impact academic and career decisions but your student assures you the problem has nothing to do with their social media because all activities have been hidden from view.

Apart from whether your student’s social media has been properly vetted and optimized for these inspections, the threshold question is whether your student has taken any steps to reduce the risk of online mistaken identity. 

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Alan KatzmanComment