The use of social media is no longer limited to posting vacation photos and connecting with old friends. More and more, college admissions officials are using social media to recruit and research potential students. Research from Kaplan shows that in 2010, 87% of admissions officers reported using Facebook, 76% used Twitter, and 73% used YouTube to recruit prospective students. This doesn’t only mean that students should clean up their Facebook pages. It also presents an opportunity for students to use social media to their advantage in the admissions process.
Use social media to…
Demonstrate interest. College will often publish a statistic called a yield rate. This number indicates the percentage of students that accepted the school’s offer of admission. Colleges want this number to be high, and try to do this by offering admission to students that take extra efforts to demonstrate their interest in the school. Subscribe to a school’s YouTube channel, follow their Twitter feed, and/or like their Facebook page. Then use these social media avenues to communicate with admissions officials.
Communicate with school officials. Once a part of an online community, students are instantly connected with others that are connected to the school–admissions officials, current students, possibly even professors. Students should communicate with people to get even more information about the school and build connections with those affiliated with the school.
Display successes. Show off awards and achievements using social media. Post photos of “Most Outstanding Student” certificates, Tweet new statistics achieved in sports, or post a video clip of the school play where you were given the main role. Think of it as a fun, online resume.
Show who you are–beyond the numbers. You’re more than your GPA and test scores. Admissions officials often emphasize their holistic review of your application and social media can be used to highlight those passions listed on your resume. A competitive dancer? Upload that video where you took 1st place in your category to YouTube. Or post that photo of a house that you helped build and affirmed your choice to major in architecture.
1. SLOW DOWN: Take your time when filling out applications. There is no prize for first place. Make sure to read directions carefully and answer questions correctly. The applications themselves are easy, but need to be completed accurately.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO DEADLINES: Make a list of your schools’ application deadlines. Determine how you are applying: Early Action? Early Decision? Regular Decision? Research each of these deadlines and determine what is best for yourself. Review each of your schools’ application checklists and make sure to have ALL required items into the school by the application deadline. Not worth procrastinating!
3. SCHEDULE TIME EACH WEEK TO WORK ON ESSAYS AND APPLICATIONS: Applying to college can be an overwhelming experience. To minimize some of the anxiety, schedule time in your school planner to work on applications and essays. Spending 30 minutes a day working on applications will guarantee you’ll be ready to submit applications by the appropriate deadlines.
4. DON’T ESTIMATE YOUR TEST SCORES OR GPA: Make sure you input accurate information into all of your applications. A few essential documents you should have handy while completing applications: your transcript, test scores and resume. Don’t try to recall test scores and input them into your application. Make sure you are submitting correct information in each of your sections!
5. DON’T TREAT EVERY APPLICATION AND ESSAY THE SAME: Make sure you tailor each application to the specific school you’re applying to. One school’s testing policy may differ than other school’s testing policies. Determine what each of your school’s need and follow directions. Also, if using an essay for multiple schools, make sure you have the CORRECT college name when submitting to your specific colleges. Not good if you mention University of Washington in an essay that you sent to University of Oregon. Check your work!
6. RESEARCH FINANCIAL AID WEBSITES: Take the time to research each of your school’s financial aid websites. What are the necessary forms to complete? Even if you don’t think you will qualify for government aid, it is still important to apply for it through the FAFSA. This allows you to receive aid through merit awards. Also, many schools require the CSS profile. This form takes some time and deadlines can be as early as October. School specific scholarships are also listed under the financial aid website, so make sure to research these as well and apply to what you can. This takes some time, but is well worth the effort.
I hope you enjoyed these 6 Sensational Suggestions for completing college applications. Application season is just beginning. Work hard and stay motivated!