Social Media: Cleaning Up For College


Way back in the golden days of Facebook, long before the existence of the timeline, many of us were middle schoolers being introduced to social media. No doubt you had several “It's Just A Teen Thing” and “Teens Only” pages you liked, because eleven is close enough to being a teenager, right? Your first profile picture was probably a cartoon character or a ridiculously close-up selfie, and you undoubtedly posted several "Sooooo bored sum1 talk to meh! lol ;D" statuses a day. My goal here isn't to embarrass you, but to make a point – how many embarrassing or potentially damaging things do you have lurking on your social media accounts?

It's a lesser-known fact that colleges will look at your online accounts to get a better idea of who you are and what you're like. In 2013, a Kaplan telephone survey reported that out of the 381 colleges that participated, 31 percent of them had indeed looked at a potential student's social media account. However, fear not! While the internet is forever, there are some things you can do to “clean up” your pages before your first choice sees all those vague, shade-throwing statuses you made when you were thirteen.

The very first thing you should do is change your privacy settings. The 'Friends Only' option is your friend. This will help to limit who can see your pictures, statuses, likes, and information. Keep it between you and your friends and not the whole world.

The second thing you should do is start cleaning up! Go all the way back to the beginning of your internet existence and remove anything and everything that might hurt your reputation and make you look bad. Those pictures of you drinking at that party last week? Gone! Those videos you made of you rapping along to an Eminem song, curse words and all? Delete! That status you made calling out that girl for stealing your boyfriend when you were fourteen? Bye-bye! This includes anything your friends may tag you in or post about you. If worse comes to worse and they won't delete it, untag yourself and hide it from your timeline.

The third thing you can do to help clean up your image is to review all your likes and basic information. All of those mildly offensive meme pages might have been funny at first, but now they're annoying and sort of embarrassing. Unlike them! This goes for any pages you maybe shouldn't have liked anyway, such as a brand of alcohol or tobacco, or anything you wouldn't want your parents to see. Also, rewrite your “about me” and try to keep those as friendly and current as you can. When you're all done, google search yourself, and make sure that whatever pops up is appropriate.

There you go! Now your social media pages, and your image, should be squeaky clean. Be sure to keep an eye on what you post in order to keep it that way. Looking good online is just one way to make getting into your dream school that much easier.

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