Monthly Features

What do your photos say about you? And what will the colleges and employers say when they see them too?

 Yes, they probably will see them, too. When you post photos online, as we all do in this social media driven age, we are allowing access to our lives, even to people we don’t think have access. The picture of you and your best friend at your high school graduation? Your university admissions counselor may have seen it. Your senior prom photos? Your future employer may stumble across them. Universities and employers are now making it common practice to filter through applicants social media feeds, from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter; and your photos are not as private as you think. A 2013 Kaplan Test Prep study shows that 31% (up from 24% in 2011) of university admission counselors checked applicant’s social media profiles, and the number continues to grow.

You can be diligent about your privacy settings, and you can monitor your own postings, but the social media age poses new challenges every day, as you cannot control what others post about you, or what pictures of you they share. Remember that bonfire your friend posted pictures of, where other kids had alcohol in their hands? You may not be drinking, and you may be able to ask them to remove it, but that image remains in the digital memory of the internet, forever. It is never really gone, and it is depicting you in a less than flattering light. Consider the image it creates when a university, which looks for students who share its core values, sees an academically talented applicant with a social media presence littered with questionable behavior. It can seal their fate at their desired institution.  

It is expected your applications for college and future employment will be judged, but your generation does not have the luxury of being judged solely on credentials. Instead, you are being judged on your academic credentials, your extra-curricular activities, your community involvement, and your digital brand and presence.

What brand have you created with your pictures? How will you continue to be portrayed as you document your college years online?



Kaplan 2013 study:

Publication Date: October 2015