Looking at going abroad for your higher studies? Social media can help. Or hurt. Let’s find out how.
In a survey released by the U.S. News & World Report, 35% of admissions committee officers at the top 100 business schools said that they check applicants’ social media accounts and that online presence is becoming a factor in admissions decisions.
Social media says a lot about a person that may not be clear in an essay or recommendation letter. With people laying bare their lives on social media, what admissions committees find might increase a person’s chance of getting in — or could diminish it.
This means that applicants and even students must be really intentional — and careful — about how they use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. So what are the top social media dos and don’ts for applicants?
Social Media: The Dos
Let’s have a look at the Dos first:
- Share achievements and wins. Flaunt your accomplishments while staying humble.
- Be authentic. You want to stay true to yourself online and not be a very obvious impostor. Let your posts breathe and let officers get a sense of who you are when they take a look at your social media pages.
- Brand yourself. You want schools to know that you’re already business-savvy and show them that you recognize your most valuable business: yourself.
- Do consider privacy settings. Social networks give users a myriad of options to protect themselves online. If you are concerned with the amount of information available to the public, spend some time exploring your privacy options and apply those that feel safest to you.
- Do interact with universities and colleges you’re interested in attending! Follow, like, and pay attention to accounts of schools you’re applying to. A retweet or share of a Facebook post can show interest and enthusiasm for an institution’s activities. Engagement with a university’s social accounts can also be a great way to display your compatibility with the school and its culture.
- Do see what’s already out there. Google yourself! If you can see it show up on a Google search, so can an admissions officer. Surveying your online landscape before the application process can give you an advantage in creating the social presence you want to display.
Social Media: The Don’ts
While you should definitely implement these Dos, you also need to keep an eye out for the Don’ts:
- Too many applicants share photos of themselves on a night out, but heavy partying could be a turn off to admissions officers. You want the admissions committee to view you as someone who can balance both work and play, but isn’t excessively involved in party culture.
- Don’t be overtly reckless about what you post online. A cuss word here or there shouldn’t keep a future school from viewing you negatively, but racist, threatening or trolling behaviour online and or insensitive language will.
- Don’t plagiarize ideas/posts/pictures for your social media pages.
- Don’t delete all evidence of yourself from the internet. Fear of certain posts that college admissions officers might condemn if encountering your social presence shouldn’t hinder you from having a presence at all.
Social media is an excellent tool to enhance your business school application. It gives depth to you as an individual and allows admissions officers to visualize you as a member of their student body. When cautiously curated, your social profiles can be an asset rather than a liability. Happy posting!