It shouldn’t be a big surprise to you to learn that some college and university officials will review your social media history or online presence before deciding if you should be offered a spot in an incoming class. Taking some time to review and possibly edit your online presence can pay off before you apply to college.
Start with a Regular Web Search
Go to Google, Bing and other major search engines and enter your name to see what results are returned. You may also want to do a search of your email address or your name in combination with your hometown or identifying criteria.
If you find anything questionable about you, figure out the source and see if you can have that information removed. Don’t limit your review to social media posts; check out dating sites, blogs and message boards for potentially inappropriate content you may have shared in the past.
If you have a common name:
- You may need to dig through some clutter, but it is good to know what is out there under your name even if it’s not you.
- It may be worth purchasing a custom Web domain with your name from a provider and setting up a basic website to point officials and others to your correct Web presence. You will want to provide that URL on applications so that officials can find the correct information about you.
Do a Clean Up of Your Social Media History
There is a good chance you’ve liked or shared at least one questionable post or image. Now is an ideal time to trim your social media history and delete posts and comments that could reflect negatively on you. A good starting point is anything that reflects poorly on your attitude toward school or work.
Go through your posts and edit out anything someone might find inappropriate or offensive. To do that, think about discussing the post with your grandma. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, it probably should be deleted. Then, check to see what others have posted to your profile or tagged you in. Could those be an issue? If so, either delete or ask your friends to untag you in those posts. Don’t forget to check for apps you use or things you have liked or followed. Also, remember that even if you delete some things now, it may take some time for them to truly disappear from the Internet.
Check Your Privacy Settings
If you leave your social media profiles open to the public, you are giving anyone access to see information about you. Consider make your profile private so that only those you give permission to can see what you post. Friends may still tag you in posts, though, so keep a close watch on those or change your settings to require your permission before the posts are visible on your profile. The more restricted your privacy settings, the less likely anyone is to come across information about you on the Internet.
By: Iowa Student Loan