Very relevant article by the Huffington Post. Highlights are below. Full article here.
More and more, what teens post online influences the college admissions process. Some 35% of college admissions officers now check applicants’ social media pages, compared to just 10% of officers in 2008, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2017 survey of 365 college admissions officers.
So, what’s a prospective college student to do? Below are three tips to ensure your social media footprint works for you, not against you.
Determine your ‘it’ factor
Before jumping into the tactics, let’s think big picture: What passions, expertise, achievements, and skills can you showcase? What value can you bring to your college community? In short: What’s your personal brand?
“Pay attention to the image that you’re projecting,” stresses Hans Hanson, CEO and Founder of CollegeLogic. “Create the image you desire and build your brand. Work hard to develop it and protect it with every ounce of responsible intention.”
Develop your digital portfolio
Now that you have audited your online presence and reflected on your strengths, it’s time to create a captivating online portfolio.
Start with a clean-up. Remove social media profiles that are dormant, off-brand, or inappropriate. No references to alcohol or drug usage, no profanity, no defamatory comments.
Next, construct the right profiles. Make every word, photo, and video count. Spend time crafting a LinkedIn presence, and showcase your experience, achievements, and aspirations. Secure testimonials and endorsements from teachers, employers, athletic coaches, and club presidents.
Lastly, remember: less is more. Rather than using every social media platform, select just a few that are in sync with your career aspirations. For example: Those interested in the creative arts should leverage YouTube or Instagram.
Make some noise
You have your portfolio complete. Now what? It’s important to deliver the experience of you in a meaningful and deliberate way. Avoid posting “in the moment” — instead, take time to craft content that showcases your character, expertise, and passion. Hone the art of storytelling through blogging; tell your story through a series of thoughtful essays. And consider doing so on your own website. (If you’re not up to that just yet, still snag the vanity URL. Otherwise, someone else may come along and scoop up yourname.com.)
Invest in networking both online and offline. College-bound students can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to communicate with other prospective students, or to seek out alumni events. Also make sure to connect via LinkedIn with college advisors and department heads at desired colleges and universities.