Colleges and universities across the country take many things into account when examining an application for admission. Until recently, social media was not widely used when considering a potential student. However, because social media is something that the majority of today's high schoolers in the United States use, some colleges sometimes find it necessary to look at an applicant's social media accounts; Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are a few examples.
The article "They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets", published on November 9, 2013, reveals that research from Kaplan Test Prep, a service owned by the Washington Post Company, insinuates that the inspection of applicants' digital footprints is growing. For example, at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, a high school senior attended a campus information session for prospective students the previous year. While there, she had apparently posted "disparaging" comments on Twitter about the other attendees, as the article states. In an interview a week prior to the publishing of the article, Bowdoin's dean of admissions and financial aid Scott A. Meiklejohn said, "It was incredibly unusual and foolish of her to do that." He had also stated that, although the college had ultimately denied her application due to the fact that her academic records weren't competitive, if they had been better, her Twitter posts would have ruined her chances of being accepted anyway.
The author of this article, Natasha Singer, emailed 20 different colleges and universities large and small, both public and private, from the East to the West Coast, inquiring about therir practices when reviewing admissions applications. She then phoned admissions officials at ten schools who had agreed to do interviews. Each official had informed her that it was "not routine practice at his or her institution for admissions officers to use Google searches of applicants or to peruse their social media posts". Others, she said, did not formally prohibit the practice and occasionally did look at online material about applicants. Some officials also rejected certain applicants, or revoked their acceptances, due to the content found on their social media.
As this article was posted in 2013, I do believe that colleges and universities today look more into a prospective student's social media more often than they did four years ago. Nowadays, high schoolers and middle schoolers—and sometimes even elementary students—are using social media more than ever. I myself have accounts on at least three different platforms. Colleges should look at what potential students post because it's often a window into their personality and what they are like as a person. Schools often do not want someone who degrades fellow peers or other people in general.
As a freshman, I'm only one semester through my entire high school career. I have three-and-a-half years left. However, it really isn't all that much time and, before long, I will be a senior and getting ready to go to college myself. As someone who is aiming for a high degree, I would not want a comment posted on my social media (made my me) to ruin my chances of being accepted into my first-choice school, or even being accepted into a school at all.
Today, colleges and universities are taking what you post online into consideration more than ever when looking at your applications. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat... So many high schoolers and middle schoolers have accounts on these and several other social media platforms, which is why schools should be looking at your accounts and taking them into consideration.