How Facebook affects college admission

Anyone with a Twitter page, Facebook profile or personal blog knows the risks: most of what you post online is visible to anyone with an internet connection. Your friends, your parents, and even your teachers can see your pictures or read about your weekend adventures.

Normally what you post online isn’t much of an issue, but that changes once you start applying for college. Suddenly the information you share in your online profile can affect your future. What you say, what you do, even who you hang out with: all of it can influence an admissions decision.

First the good news: Eastern never looks at your Facebook or Twitter pages as part of the admissions process. Never. Naturally we love it when your reach out to us through Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great way to get your questions answered … but it’s not part of our admissions decision. We only consider the materials you submit when we make admissions decisions.

Now the bad news: according to a recent report, 24 percent of college admissions offices look at your Facebook page and 20 percent Google you as part of the admissions process. If you’re applying to multiple schools, chances are at least one of them is trying to learn more about you through social media.

Eastern Will Never Search for You

So if Eastern doesn’t use Facebook or Google to learn more about you, why blog about it? Well, we have a few good reasons.

  1. We care about the students who apply here, and we want you to feel confident that your private life is really private.
  2. We want you to know that you’re being admitted based on merit only. If you have great grades and high test scores, it doesn’t seem fair to make an admissions decision based on a few photos from your junior prom.
  3. We want you to lock down your personal info. What’s true of the college admissions process is true of the job market, too, and keeping your private life truly private keeps the focus on your achievements, not the crazy antics of your friends. In 20 years, who knows how you or your employers will feel about what you posted on Facebook when you were 17.

So What Should You Do?

If you’re applying for schools, there are a few quick things you can do.

  1. Lock down your Facebook page so that it’s not available to the public, and untag yourself in any of your friends’ photos.
  2. Delete your Twitter feed. If that’s too extreme, visit the “Account” tab and select “Protect My Updates.” Search engines won’t index protected tweets, and they’re not available on the public timeline.
  3. Make your Tumblr or blog invitation-only unless it paints you in a positive light.
  4. Google yourself and start scrubbing anything that might be considered negative.

Let colleges and employers focus on what you’re capable of … not what you did when you were 15.

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