by AMBER KELLY Photographer
Many high school students are under the false impression that what they put online is private, and now, more than ever, this lack of privacy on the internet is having a negative impact on students everywhere. Colleges are no longer just concerned with GPA’s and standardized test scores; those in charge of admissions are currently looking at prospective students’ social media pages to gauge whether they want to admit a student into the college or not.
If the college finds something offensive or derogatory, especially about the college itself, then those students with said comments can be denied admittance. While some gawk at such claims, there are public records of this happening to high school students.
According to the New York Times, a high school senior was denied admission after posting insulting comments about others while visiting Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. While an admissions officer at the school said the student had not been academically suited for the college, he also said that her derogatory comments would have hurt her chances of getting into the college had she been academically capable.
Due to these social media searches done by colleges, students have begun to use pseudonyms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By using false or just slightly changed names, students hope to keep their comments and posts from being seen by colleges they wish to attend.
“It’s weird that colleges are looking at social media sites now. I guess I understand why they do it, I mean it gives them a better look into who the applicant is which is good for them, I guess. This is probably not such a great thing for senior high school students because I know a lot of people post derogatory or inappropriate things online and stuff, so hopefully it doesn’t affect people too much,” says senior Jessica McDonald.
When looking at social media sites, colleges just want to make sure that whatever prospective students are posting is appropriate. However, what do colleges consider appropriate, and what do high school students think is appropriate? While one picture or video might seem harmless to a high school student, it can be construed as inappropriate by a college admissions officer.
Colleges are not only looking at recent posts; they can go as far back as any social media site will let them. Therefore, if a student has an inappropriate picture, comment, or any other type of posting from freshman year, the colleges can and will find it. That is why when students are going through their social media pages, they should not just edit recent posts, but also delete anything offensive from years past.
“I never really go through my older pictures and posts that I have on Facebook and Twitter, so I guess I figured that colleges don’t either. Sometimes I forget the things I have posted in the past. I never really thought that those posts could hurt my chances of getting admitted to a college,” says senior Kimberly Cangelosi.
Colleges want to know everything they can about applicants, and social media sites are as good a place as any to learn about students on a more personal level, and that is why it is so important to keep social media pages appropriate.
What do you think colleges would say if they looked at all of your social media pages?