Get Facebook Savvy Part 2
Part two in a two-part series
In last month’s newsletter, I talked about the potential negative impact of Facebook on your college admissions decisions and what you can do to mitigate those risks. This month I’ve got some good news: you can use Facebook to your advantage in the college admissions process. Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter are all about expressing who you are, which is exactly what admissions committees want to see in your resumes and essays. So, just be yourself! If you are a photographer or artist, post your pictures. Musicians can start a MySpace devoted to their work and it’s easy for writers to start a blog showcasing their award-winning pieces. By continuing to do this throughout high school, you’ll already have ready-made documentation of your achievements when it comes time to apply.
However, it’s important to be truthful and not create a fake persona in order to impress an admissions officer who may potentially be looking at your site. Don’t say you’re a fan of Voltaire if you prefer Stan Lee. Don’t say you prefer artsy indie documentaries if you are an action adventure fan. Remember, it’s hard to lie about your love for philosophy, when everyone on your friends list knows you really prefer Marvel.
Due to the growth of social networking sites, managing your online persona is a skill that you will need throughout your life and now is a great time to start. So if an admissions officer, or anyone else, does do a search on you, they see an active student with top sports scores, professional photo credits, music reviews, or an active internship history.
Many colleges are also creating profiles or pages on Facebook. This gives you the opportunity to express interest in them by adding them as a friend or by becoming a fan. Some schools, such as Bard College, have Twitter accounts that you can follow. If you do follow or fan, remember to check your privacy settings. That said, do not friend admissions officers directly. This is an obvious ploy to increase your chance of admissions that usually does more harm than good.
You can also use Facebook as an organizational tool. As you go through high school, use your profile to track achievements, jobs, internships, clubs, sports, goals, interests, and even favorite books. Applications for schools like Columbia and Stanford ask students to list the books they have recently read, and social networks can be a great way to keep track of this. Likewise, it may be difficult to remember every volunteer, sport, or club outing you’ve attended, but if you upload photos of events or tag yourself in photos that others have taken, you can use those as reminders when you start building your resume.
I want you to understand that it’s easy for both the good and the bad aspects of your personal life to end up in the hands of anyone, not just an admissions officer. Be prepared for this possibility by taking steps to remove any potentially negative associations on your sites and by highlighting your favorite qualities and achievements. Furthermore, this is not the only time you have to think about how your information may be viewed by others; more and more employers are turning to the internet for supplementary information on job candidates. By effectively taking charge of your online persona now, you can be sure you will be putting your best (digital) foot forward for years to come.