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How to use your social media persona to enter your dream college

Posted on Jan 26, 2017
social media blog

Can your social media presence affect your admission to a top global university?

The answer, in short, is yes. Your offline presence may be fabulous. However, in a world that is connected 24X7, what you do online matters tremendously.

Applicants believe that furnishing a strong application and doing well in the admissions interview is all it takes to get your dream school admit.Not true anymore!Information that you share in the digital universe gets recorded and captured permanently.

Admissions officers today are looking at your social media presence across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for many different reasons:

1. To get a sense of who you are as a person, and to ensure that your application matches who you are. Your social media and blog posts reflect your true opinions, preferences, hobbies and interests, and provide the admissions officers with insight into your personality over and above your application.

2. To verify the authenticity of high-profile awards and claims. For instance, if you founded a nonprofit, does the nonprofit have a legitimate website? Does it validate that you are the founder?

Increasingly, not only your schools but your classmates and even employers are turning to social media to understand the validity and strength of your application by tracking what you share and how you interact online. If used well, these platforms are an excellent tool to impress the admissions committee.

Prospective candidates can utilize social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to be an extension of their applications, by appropriately posting comments and links to highlight strengths, skills and interests to give targeted schools authentic insight into their personalities.

To get started, you first need to clean up your current social media presence by:

1. Googling yourself. Remember to Google yourself, to see what your online reputation looks like! Online reputation management tools like Qnary and Google’s “Me On the Web” can help you see what you look like online, and you can then use this data to reposition yourself accordingly.

2. Knowing when to de-tag. Watch your online photo libraries, and make sure that you are not tagged in too many party photos. The essential rule of thumb is to de-tag yourself from posts that you would not want your family to see. Eliminate foul language, too many photos where you have a drink in your hand (or all of these photos if you are applying at the undergraduate level), and photos where you obviously look inebriated or hungover.

3. Paying attention to your online names. This applies to your email address, Twitter or Instagram handles, or any other online social media usernames that are searchable on Google. These usernames are your key identifiers, so it is essential that they remain professional and politically correct.

4. Checking your privacy settings. Take a look at your profile from a friend’s computer or on an incognito window or browser, so that you can see what you look like to third parties. You will be able to see the extent to which posts from your wall, your photos (the ones you have uploaded and the ones you are tagged in) are visible to the outside world.

How do you, then, leverage your social media presence to create a strong, positive impact on the admissions officer that is viewing your profile?

 1. Have a strong LinkedIn profile.Ensure you strategically document important information required to build a strong and attractive profile to showcase achievements and build credibility.

2. Follow your prospective schools on social media, join their online groups, and stay engaged with their content – all top schools have a robust and active digital presence, through which you can learn more as a prospective candidate.

3. Post and share content based on your interests and impact. Whether it is articles you relate to or have written, music you listen to or instruments you play, your artwork, photos or videos of your winning sporting events or of you attending live performances. Ensure that you cover all leadership and community service interests and activities.

It is important to remember that you can use social media to further showcase your personality, interests, impact and achievements beyond your academic prowess and the contents of your application form. While your admission to the school does not depend on this, there is no plausible reason why your social media presence shouldn’t impress an admissions officer that’s taking a curious sneak peek into a prospective student!

Your online reputation matters a lot; be social media savvy!

Need help with your college applications? ReachIvy can help!

ReachIvy  sincerely hopes that this article serves as a critical tool to increase your knowledge base. For study abroad consultation  or career counselling  with ReachIvy, Submit a Query now! Also, review our resources  to access our free premium content.

This article was also published in Tribune on 30/11/2016.

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