As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the the experts. Here are their answers.
Charlotte Klaar Director Klaar College Consulting LLC
Social media has impacted the college process in a number of ways. First, and most obvious, is that colleges can use it to keep in touch with students and to continue their marketing efforts to entice students to apply and, if accepted, enroll. One way that social media has impacted the process is not as good for students. Colleges now have access to your FaceBook page, your Twitter feed, and any other social media tools you use. This means that the colleges can make a judgment about the kind of person you are by seeing the pictures you post, those posted by your friends, the language you use, and the things you boast about on your personal sites. Much of this is not material that you want a prospective college or employer to see. Use great caution!
Angela Conley, CollegeAdmission Expert, VentureForth
Facebook and other social media forums absolutely impact the college search and application process. Despite the hype, young people listen to their friends – and their friends’ friends! My warning to clients is to “lock” their pages acknowledging that it is almost impossible to remove distasteful commentary about or by you. I always provide a checklist which includes “wash your face first” with deliberate attention to monitoring those you “add” to your circle of friends. Though some believe it is myth, admission personnel do review Facebook and other profiles. I do NOT believe they do so arbitrarily, but I strongly suspect they occasionally peruse candidates from curiosity. In sum, yes colleges, families and applicants all consider blogs, web profiles and stories, experiences and insights shared between and across various social media. If prospects look, then it makes sense that admission recruiters and staffs would also engage.
Nina Berler, Founder, unCommon Apps
Social media has had a dramatic effect on how colleges communicate with students. This also let to a flood of students leveraging online homework help for that extra edge when trying to get into the ideal university. Blogging is one of the first major changes. Students expect many of their target schools to have blogs, either by admissions professionals or students, so they can keep up with the latest admissions or campus happenings. In this age of new media, colleges are turning to Facebook and Twitter as well. Brown, for example, sends out tweets on classes, alumni and articles of interest to prospective applicants. All in all, social media provides a very flexible and less expensive means of communication, a dramatic shift from the days of fat envelopes and visits to the mailbox. At the same time, social media can help or hinder a candidate’s chances of admission. Students at some schools are now permitted to submit videos. Students have lately been leveraging online SAT prep courses, which has allowed students to feel more comfortable using video recording and video conferencing technologies. At the same time, colleges are sometimes checking out students’ Facebook pages. In this age of social media, anything is fair game.