What Role Does Social Media Play in College Admissions?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female student checking her smart phone

What Role Does Social Media Play in College Admissions?

In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, and its impact can be felt in nearly every aspect of society. One area where it has had a significant impact is in the world of college admissions.

With more and more students using social networks to express themselves and connect with others, college admissions officers are turning to these platforms to gain a deeper understanding of applicants.

While social networks can be a great way to showcase your interests and personality, they can also be a double-edged sword. What you post on social networks can be seen by anyone, including college admissions officers, who may use it to make decisions about your application.

In this blog, we’ll explore how social networks can impact college admissions and provide tips for students on how to use social networks to their advantage.

Three students using a laptop in a table.

Whether you’re a high school student preparing to apply to college or a concerned parent looking to support your child through the admissions process, this blog is for you. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of social networks and college admissions!

Do college admissions officers look at social media?

Do admissions officers look at applicants’ social network profiles? Yes. In fact, what students post on social networks cannot only have a big effect on their chances of getting in, but it can also cause their acceptance to be revoked if they post offensive or inappropriate things.

Even so, there is no way to know in advance whether the admissions officers will look at your social network account. Everyone would be better off if they erred on the side of caution. Here’s a list of things you can do to clean up your social network profiles.

Even though Facebook asks you, “What’s on your mind?” every time you check-in, you don’t have to answer. We’ve all been in situations where we needed to vent our anger about something unfair or a certain teacher.

One thing to do is to take a breath every now and then. But students have been turned down for athletic and academic scholarships because of controversial photos, videos, and status updates they posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t take a chance. The money you need for school and your future is too important to throw away.

Can the use of social media harm students’ chances of college admission?

Could the use of social networks by students hurt their chances of getting into college? A few years ago, grades, essays, and interviews were the most important parts of getting into college.

In today’s competitive world, on the other hand, your social network accounts could be a deciding factor in whether or not you get into the school of your choice.

Two people using a device in a restaurant.

The social network could have an effect, either good or bad, on how colleges and universities choose applicants.

Students share things online all the time without first thinking about whether or not they might be controversial. But when college admissions officers may look at your social network profile, it is very important to use good judgment when you post online. Think before you click.

Read on to find out which of your posts might affect your chances of getting into college.

Things you can post that can help you get into college:

Community participation

Posts that show how much you care about making your high school or neighborhood a good place to live can make a great impression on admissions coordinators. These people want to know that you will be an important part of the communities on their campuses.

Here are some potential examples:

  • Photos you post to Instagram show how you’re trying to start a group or program that encourages open communication or creative expression
  • Make tweets to get more people involved in your community

Academic or extracurricular awards

There is a chance that pictures or a description of an award you won but didn’t write about in your application will help the admissions counselor form a good opinion of you. Even if you did mention these awards in your application, talking about them on social networking sites can show that you are serious about getting a better education.

Unique accomplishments

Have you ever started your own business or been in charge of a major scientific project? You probably won’t hurt your chances of getting into college if you talk about the cool things you’ve done on social media. In fact, it might help.

Things you post that can hurt your chances of getting into college:


Different kinds of discrimination, like racism, sexism, and others, can hurt your chances of getting into college in a big way. They give the impression that you treat people unfairly, which is not allowed on college campuses.

Illegal activity

On the application to many colleges and universities, a section asks if you have ever been arrested or done anything illegal. If you lie about having been in trouble with the law in the past, the school or institution you want to go to may decide not to accept your application.

People who have been in trouble with the law in the past are using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter more and more to talk about their experiences and try to stop others from breaking the law.

Even though this can be a way to heal, if you don’t say anything about it on your application, admissions officers may see it as a red flag.


Admissions officers should be very worried if an applicant posts pictures or videos on social network with violent language or threats. Keep in mind that a college campus is supposed to be a place of peace and acceptance.

Why do colleges look at your social media?

When colleges look at your social network, what are they looking for? Yes, colleges can see the public parts of your social network profiles, but they don’t have any kind of secret or government-like power to look at your private information.

Most likely, they won’t notice what you do on social networks unless it causes a big problem. This is by far the most likely thing to happen.

The most important things for college admissions officers to look at are a student’s academic transcripts, standardized test scores, and writing samples, unless the student has done something strange online.

Group of people talking while using a laptop.

On the other hand, your online presence could give these admissions officers an additional look into who you are. Schools want students who can do well in the classroom, but they also want teens and young adults with strong morals who will help make the campus a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

What you don’t want colleges to see on your social networking profile?

It’s not hard to figure out what kinds of digital mistakes could hurt your chances of getting into college or getting money to help pay for it. But here are two types of things that you shouldn’t do:

1. Signs that an underage is doing something illegal

Many pictures taken at parties in high school are not inappropriate. They might be able to help you in the end. People in charge of admissions look for well-rounded students who have lots of friends outside of school.

Also, the pictures might show that you are comfortable talking to a variety of different types of classmates. Just make sure that the pictures show you in a good light and that they can’t be misread in any way.

2. Language or content that is rude or hurtful

Campuses are great places for debates and even protests, and admissions officers won’t necessarily turn away students with strong opinions who have a platform.

When you share something on social media, you should be careful not to insult other people’s beliefs. People shouldn’t also use words or pictures that are hurtful to others.

One way to tell if you’ve gone too far is to think about whether you would talk to the admissions officer in person about this event or point of view. If not, you already know how to solve the problem.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should also avoid saying things that are meant to be funny but could be taken the wrong way. You could get in trouble for something that doesn’t even exist.

What you do want colleges to see on your social networking profile?

If you are applying to colleges or graduate schools, one of the first things you might think to do is check your privacy settings on popular sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Male student attending an online class in a table with other students.

Even though this is a failsafe option, you should still think of your social network accounts as ways to tell a positive story to admissions officers.

Here is a list of five things you can do to improve your social media presence:

1. Make sure that your accounts match up with the applications you’ve sent in.

Include compelling writing and letters of recommendation from people who know you well on your college application. This will help you look as good as possible. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t work for your messages.

There are other ways to reach this goal besides publishing books with perfect spelling and punctuation. An admissions officer might look for pictures of your younger relatives on your Facebook page if, for example, you wrote in your college essay about how you helped them through hard times when they were younger and said that you did.

In a similar way, your online profiles are great places to share photos of your achievements, like when you got an award for your grades or when you played sports in high school. It might be a good idea to also look at the old photos you’ve posted on these sites.

You might find one or two things that would make the person in charge of admissions wonder if you are the same person who did well on your paper application.

2. Show that you’re interested in being admitted to the schools.

It is a good idea to “like” and “follow” the social network accounts of the schools you are interested in. Take it a step further by finding ways to communicate with educational institutions through these platforms.

You can also show your passion for a certain field of study. If you are applying to a college of business, for example, the person in charge of applications might be interested to hear that you follow well-known people in the world of finance online.

3. Write about what you like.

Talking about them in your college essay is one way to tell colleges about your most important goals and burning passions. But your social media accounts can also be used to show that you are interested in pretty much anything that catches your attention.

When you do your favorite hobby or activity online, schools can learn more about you than just what grades you get.

4. Talk about the most memorable times you’ve had with friends.

People can get both good and bad ideas about you from your Instagram account and the pictures you post on your Facebook page. You won’t have to hide them from the school recruiting officers, so don’t worry about that.

On the other hand, you should be careful about how you look in pictures that your friends take. You wouldn’t want an admissions officer to find a certain picture of you and get the wrong idea about you from it.

5. Keep writing even after you’ve applied.

If you send in your college application in January of your senior year of high school, it could be a couple of months before an admissions officer decides whether or not to let you in.

Between January and March is a good time to look at your social network accounts. Use this chance to be your own advocate online and see if that makes your case for getting in stronger. Put all the pieces together for an admissions supervisor who might be confused about something.

For example, if your application essay was about a senior project, you should give updates on how that project is going.

You could also use your accounts to keep track of your search for college scholarships, if that’s something you’re interested in. You can show colleges that you are serious about going to school by posting the applications you have sent in and the awards you have won.

If you haven’t sent in your college applications yet, you might want to include a link to one of your online profiles, like your LinkedIn profile. With this method, you can then send recruiting departments to the social networking platform of your choice.

In conclusion, social media can have a significant impact on college admissions. College admissions officers may use these platforms to evaluate a student’s character, personality, and overall fit for their institution.

Therefore, students must be mindful of their online presence and ensure that their social network profiles accurately reflect their best selves. It is crucial for students to maintain a positive and professional image online, as inappropriate or offensive content could potentially harm their chances of being accepted into their desired college.

Overall, social networks can be a valuable tool for students to showcase their strengths and accomplishments, but they should be used with caution to avoid any negative impact on their college admissions prospects.

If you’re worried about how your social media presence might affect your chances of getting into your dream college, booking an initial consultation with us is the perfect solution.

Here at AdmissionSight, our experts can give you personalized advice and guidance on presenting yourself in the best possible light. Don’t let this hold you back, book your initial consultation now!


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