Here’s What Could Happen When What Happened on Your Spring Break… winds up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat or Vine!

Last couple of years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the way social media is shaping the college admissions (and hiring) processes.  Most of the articles that I’ve seen are more than just a good read; they’re like an  insider’s playbook on how selective colleges are using new media to recruit, screen (out) and induce students.

So, as another Spring Break season comes to a close (and I find both my daughter and my mother-in-law ‘tagged’ in their share of Spring Break pics, thankfully tasteful ones), I wanted toshare some social media nuggets that I hope you’ll like and share with your college-bound teens, friends and neighbors.

First,  the most recent Kaplan Test Prep survey (2013),   31 % of College Admissions Officers who responded, admitted to checking their applicants’ social media pages for ‘red flags’ prior to granting acceptance (and 30% of those folks said that they found information that negatively affected the applicant). I would expect that the number is quite a bit higher today,  Why?  Well, consider that in 2008, when the initial Kaplan survey was conducted, just 10% of Admissions Officers self-reported using social media as any type of recruitment tool.

Second, AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT.  More and more employers routinely use social media both to  search for and vet potential job applicants. What you post (even as a silly high school student) can be both LIFE-CHANGING and JOB ENDING  Consider that in a 2014 social recruiting survey conducted by the recruiting platform Jobvite, 93%  of hiring managers said that they will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.  And that review matters: 55% of those hiring managers also said that they had reconsidered a candidate based on what they had found!   In an older study by Harris Interactive, conducted three years ago found that 35% of hiring managers had actually decided NOT to offer a job to a potential candidate based on content they found on that candidate’s social networking site, The Jobvite report put that number at 61% in 2014.  Ouch!  

And finally, though a few states have passed and a few others are considering legislation to restrict an employer’s or a college’s access to a prospect’s social media passwords, many will ask you to ‘friend’ them or otherwise ‘voluntarily’ provide them with this information.

So,  if you’re applying to college, graduate school or for a job… or planning to someday, I suggest that you temper both your revelry and equally important,  the sharing of your Spring Break (or any personal) revelry.  As I’ve told my teenage daughter (and now my mother-in-law), social media is NOT  a personal diary; it is a digital footprint that can enhance (or weaken) how the world perceives you.So, have fun and express yourself… but be smart about it.  Don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t want the admissions committee, your potential boss or your parents  (or your son-in-law) to hear you say or see you do!
Best,
Peter

P.S. You don’t have to take my word on this topic?  Even the Shark Tank Folks have weighed in on this clip – It’s from this Saturday’s (March 27) 20/20 report.  It’s about Adam Smith, a former Chick Fil A Exec (now on food stamps) and it is THE BEST CAUTIONARY TALE I COULD FIND!  And for further research, read:  ‘They Loved Your GPA, Then They Saw Your Tweets’ by Natasha Singer.

P.P.S. Clearly, technology (from online admissions and financial aid applications to Social Media networking) is playing a major role in our student applicants’ lives. Stay tuned for a special announcement about an upcoming free learning opportunity from us that would not have been possible just a few months ago.  And, for a live, in person opportunity to learn more about how college Admissions and Funding has changed ….  how the process works today and how you canwork the process to help your child get into a great college that you can afford, come to my free College Planning Classes in April.

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