The Role of Social Media in College Admissions

Colleges want more than just a student who has impressive test scores and good grades – they are also looking for someone of high character. That’s why more and more colleges are checking students’ social media profiles.

Why Do Colleges Check Students’ Social Media Profiles?

If admissions officers are checking prospective students’ social media accounts, it’s usually because a link to the profile was provided in application materials. If a student links to social media, it can be an excellent way to add more information and showcase skills, experts say. Still, the effort may not pay off considering the massive volume of applications colleges get.


Admission officers are getting thousands of applications and are not going to go look for everybody on social media, not even everyone who sends a link. And if colleges do find the time to check social media, it’s not always to disqualify candidates. Sometimes they’re trying to find ways to advocate for a student or to see how they can really set themselves apart.


Social Media as an Addition to Admissions Materials

While many colleges just don’t look at social media, it can offer additional information to those of them that do. They want students to create a digital portfolio to present the noncognitive skills they can offer, whether it’s understanding of collaboration, leadership, time management, or resilience. It should complement one’s resume or application. It is similar to a supplemental essay, which many schools no longer require. Social media allows students to build portfolios that give admissions officers a new look into what they have to offer.


Social media is always evolving, and so is the approach that both college admissions officers and students have to take when learning how it will affect college admissions. As social media becomes more popular, the role it plays in the admissions process will probably be more significant. Until we see more cases when social media impacts the admissions process positively – it’s best for students to think twice every time they post and be careful about how what they say now can affect their future college goals.


Students should use social channels as a chance to follow and engage with accounts that align with their academic goals. Suppose there’s a particular area of study that interests them. In that case, they should look for professionals in that field on social media who can offer them insights into their area of expertise. Doing this will show admissions officers that they are using your social media channels to engage with relevant professionals. It will also give them an opportunity to learn more about their prospective career field.


Social media is also a great place to showcase their interest in potential schools. If they are particularly interested in a specific aspect of a prospective school—such as a major department or campus organization—they can repost things the college has shared on the topic. They should use their online platforms to engage with the college’s posts —such as student government, athletics, or art posts.

For more information about social media in education, click here.