Colleges And Facebook

Some months ago a parent hired me to coach her son on getting into his first-choice college. He appeared to be the ideal student: conscientious, hard-working, achieving, and most noticeably, very polite. I was very impressed.

When I got back to my office the first thing I did was look at his Facebook account. That’s because a lot of colleges are doing the same thing before deciding on an applicant’s college application.

To my incredible surprise (my naivete is showing), his opening page was peppered with the “F Bomb” like croutons on a salad. Ouch! Immediately I picked up the phone and asked, “Has your mother seen your Facebook page?” His response was pure teenager: “Are you serious?”

I told him he had to sanitize his Facebook like he was cleaning foul-odor garbage from his room. He had a problem with my analogy, but he made it through my logic after several more attempts to explain what I thought was the obvious.

Lesson: Never assume smart high school students are socially-aware; they’re not.

In short, colleges are using the internet to find another reason to accept or reject an applicant. They’re going to the social networks like Facebook. Why? Because that’s where they spend a lot of their time. Admission counselors have lots of friends on their Facebook pages.

It’s a known fact that users spend 55 minutes a day on Facebook. So the logical next step is to see if the student is on Facebook. And why not? It’s convenient, the admissions officer is already on his own Facebook pages. Why not put in the student’s name while he’s already there? Voila! Revelation!

As a parent, you can snoop your child’s Facebook page without them knowing it. Yeah, I know the privacy mechanisms allow you to keep people out of your pages, but 17-year-olds are still naive enough to not use these buttons.

If you discover what I call “Digital Dirt,” suggest that your child use the Ultimate Technology Cleaner: the delete button.

Making your Facebook pages look wholesome is just one of the strategies I use with my own students. It focuses on one single objective: getting in with a clean college application.
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Please let me know what you did regarding your child’s Facebook – readers would love to know! Go to the Leave a Reply box below.

And come see my Facebook (less the garbage in my room!) and my website.

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