Colleges check social media

Erika Pirnack, Isaac Hodgeson and Keelin Jakel check social media on their off hour. These seniors are forced to consider how their online actions may affect their college chances.

Recently there have been incidences where colleges have rescinded a scholarship or acceptance after looking at incoming students’ social media platforms. Due to these events, many wonder whether it is a legitimate concern.

Social media has many uses, whether they are negative or positive. It allows businesses to communicate to a large audience, distant friends to reconnect and hours of entertainment. Like anything, social media also has downsides, such as cyberbullying, leading to addiction or mistakes that cannot be undone. 

“Everything looks rosy on social media,” says Mrs. Lieb, Post Grad Specialist at Heritage High School.

Media sources such as Forbes have covered the topic through specific incidents. One incident included 10 students who were admitted to Harvard, and had their admissions rescinded due to offensive and racially targeting Facebook messages. The college found these messages in a private Facebook group chat between 100 students. 

Lieb explains that colleges choose their students carefully and it greatly depends on the character the student is portraying. If the student is not the person the college thought they accepted, which can be revealed on social media, they will most likely rescind a scholarship for an offensive or inappropriate post. Generally, colleges want to accept students but they want people who will be good on campus and will positively represent their school. 

“You’re in the driver’s seat right now,” says Lieb.

Mackenzie DeHart ’22 has voiced that social media is a good source of communication and a helpful method to spread ideas and information. However, social media’s ability to communicate quickly and over long distances leads to many possibilities for mistakes. With colleges being able to look at incoming students’ social media accounts, if a student were to accidentally post something he didn’t mean to, it would be on the internet forever. 

“Depending on what you post, it could affect your future in a negative way,” says DeHart.

According to Lieb, it is very few and far between that colleges will research applicants, but if they are sent something or someone brings attention to an issue, it is possible. Being safe on social media and being careful of what students post will help greatly in the long-run. 

“If you don’t want your mom or your grandma to see it… you shouldn’t put it out there,” says Mrs. Lieb. 

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