How To Turn Your Facebook Page Into College Admissions Gold!
Do you want to make a good impression with your college admissions officer? Comb your hair, brush your teeth and wash your Facebook page!
When it comes to college admissions, how you present yourself is everything. Hundreds of hours are spent working, studying, prepping, and volunteering in order for you to present yourself as a worthwhile candidate, worthy of admissions into a top college or university. Every last point will be squeezed out of your SATs and GPAs. Your essay will be rewritten a dozen times and you might even find yourself in a foreign country hammering nails with a coconut just to convince an admissions officer you’re their ideal student. So why undermine all of that with a Facebook picture of you drinking out of the dog’s bowl?
Facebook was started so college students could get to know one another. Now, more than ever, college admissions officers are using Facebook to get to know you…or at least know what you did last Friday night. It’s not hard to imagine a college admissions officer sitting in her office reading online college applications in one window while browsing Facebook in another. And it’s not too hard to imagine that she might type your name into the Facebook search box.
The big question is, what will she see when she does?
These days, social media sites can make, or break, a college application. A lot of college advisors recommend that you use an alias on Facebook or even delete your profile altogether. While we agree that not giving any Facebook information is better than having your admissions officer see your buddy drawing on your face with a magic marker, we have a better strategy. Instead of fearing your Facebook page, turn it into an opportunity. If you’re familiar with the Parent 2 Parent College Network approach to college admissions, you know that the best way to get into college is by creating an application based on keywords and repeatedly reinforcing those keywords throughout your application. If done properly, your Facebook page can be an extension of your application – if you take a few simple steps to turn it from a hindrance into an asset.
Before you get started cleaning up your Facebook profile, here’s the rule: If it’s not written about in your college application, take it off. If it doesn’t reinforce a statement in your essay, your resume or a recommendation, it should be deleted, untagged or unfriended.
First, have a look at your profile and cover pictures. If your profile picture isn’t something that your grandmother wouldn’t put in a frame and place on the mantle, then find one that she would. If your cover photo doesn’t reinforce or relate directly to your essay topic, then find one that does. Even if your current photo is appropriate, make it relevant to your essay. Wouldn’t it be great if your essay referenced your obsession with mountain biking and when an admissions officer landed on your Facebook page, they saw a picture of you on your bike?
Secondly, untag yourself and delete all photos that don’t directly relate to topics in your college application. Instead, fill your photo albums with things your admissions officer might see in your college resume…Pictures of you at work (actually working) and pictures of you handing out bottled water at a homeless shelter give admissions officers that warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Thirdly, look at your posts. Again, give it the grandma test. If you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, take it down…that includes things that you’ve posted and things that others have posted on your wall. Anything that doesn’t paint the picture of an upstanding college-bound student must go. Once you’ve cleared it out, try posting some things that an admissions officer might like to see, something like, “Staying in tonight to re-read Catcher in the Rye” couldn’t hurt. Just make sure you hide the comments from the friends who really know what you did that night.
Lastly, take a look at your friends’ profile pictures. They’re one of the first things that you see when you visit someone’s Facebook profile. If that spot is populated with buddies who don’t concern themselves with appearances then you may have to unfriend them until after admissions time. After all, you’re only as good as the company you keep. If they’re good friends then they’ll understand.
The idea here isn’t to pretend you’re someone you’re not. The idea is to help a curious admissions officer feel comfortable when she makes her decision about sending you an acceptance letter. Once you get accepted, feel free to post all of those pictures from your first dorm party… Just remember to take them down again when you apply to grad school.