These days, it's no secret that many college admissions counselors will check out applicants' social media profiles during the review process (just like many employers do). So even if you think your Twitter stream is pristine or that your privacy settings are locked up, it doesn't hurt to add virtual spring cleaning to your application checklist. Here are some ways to make your online presence a little cleaner and college-friendly.
Start by Googling yourself. What comes up after typing in your name? Chances are, this is the first thing admissions counselors do, so know what shows up first and make sure you at least tackle those sites.
Make your ‘names’ something appropriate. Whether it’s your Instagram handle or your Twitter username, be sure your names don't come across as offensive, immature or a little too playful. (In other words, if you're still hanging on to your junior high username, catfreak2006, it's time to change things up!)
Delete inappropriate photos. If you’re not keeping everything private, take some time to remove any embarrassing or questionable photos, untag yourself or make albums completely private. Use your discretion, but a good rule of thumb: if you’re unsure about something, hide or delete it. Or use the grandparent test: if you wouldn’t show them, keep it offline.
Monitor your posts. It’s easy to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter as outlets for your opinions, passions and frustrations, but now’s the time to pay closer attention to which articles you’re sharing and what your latest status reads. Of course, you don't want to change who you are—and admissions counselors would never want you to modify your beliefs or values—but you do want to show your best self (and that you can keep yourself in check).
Create a LinkedIn page. While you may not have a lot to post, getting your name on the world’s largest professional network looks, well, professional! Add your volunteer experience, any jobs you've held or honors and awards you've received that will remind the admissions team why you're a stellar candidate for their school.
All that said, do you think your online presence is reflecting you well? Run an audit, and then keep on with your applications. Hopefully, we'll be seeing yours soon if you haven't already applied!