When applying for College, candidates need to have many things in mind: they need to get great scores on the SAT or ACT, letters of recommendation, personal essays and enough extracurricular activities to prove they are good citizens. What many candidates forget is that Colleges are increasingly adopting the habit of Googling the potential students. This means that Online Reputation Management becomes as important for future students as it is for anyone who is applying for a new job.
Usually, the College admission departments are the ones in charge of this task. Probably they are not going to search for each candidate, but your chances are pretty high of being one of the lucky ones Googled by the College where you applied to. Statistics show that 82% of Colleges use Facebook as a recruiting tool, and the number is likely to increase with every passing year.
Since it is better to be safe than sorry, in this article, Reputation Defender will give you a few hints on the kind of things you want to do in order to do the best you can to manage your Online Reputation. It is known that students don’t have great budgets – or a budget at all- to deal with this kind of things, which is why we’ll try to keep it simple and show you why you need ORM and how to start using it to increase your odds of being accepted to College.
What College Admissions Officers Are Searching for Online?
The information that can be found about you online should be a positive reflection of your whole self. Your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and any kind of post should reflect that you are a strong candidate for any College.
Against what anyone could think, admission officers actually don’t want to find out about any negative stuff related to their future students. In fact, what they first look for is positive information about a student being as good as its application suggests, maybe even better. Schools just want to get a positive vibe from what may be their future students. Lucky for students, only 35% admission officers report finding negative information about applicants. This means that 65% of applicants pass the online scrutiny test.
The Nuclear Option Is Not an Option
Many candidates believe that the best way to go in order to keep a neat online reputation is by deleting their social media accounts, this is called the Nuclear Option. This not only leads to a life of boredom in the 21st century but also looks suspicious for Colleges. Probably in the admission department, they will start wondering why you don’t have a Facebook account. These thoughts may lead to the idea that you have something to hide.
Most experts believe the Nuclear Option is a bad idea, they insist that students who delete or hide their accounts actually will lose control over their Online Reputation since they won’t be able to control what others post about them.
Cleaning Your Online Reputation
Instead of using the Nuclear Option, what students should do is simply cleaning up their Online Reputations by removing trouble spots that might lead the admission counselor to reject their application. Cleaning an Online Reputation can be a lot of work, but it is worth it simply because your academic future depends on it.
In most cases, what Colleges describe as questionable content is poor word choices or photos that imply irresponsible behavior. Also, comments related to drugs and racism.
What to do then?
Managing your reputation requires a certain amount of commitment. Below you will find a list of things students can do in order to clean their search engine results.
Erase embarrassing photos.
Delete any kind of vulgar language.
Stay away from alcohol or drug consumption references.
Don’t post anything illegal or ethically questionable.
Keep yourself away from comments related to plagiarism.
Don’t complaint about your school or job.
Do not fake information.
You want to make sure the College where you are applying to can find your real name and e-mail you to mature address. They expect you to use proper grammar on your posts and talk about the things you claimed to do when you submitted your application form, like your interests, extracurricular activities or anything that can work as evidence of you saying the truth. Don’t be shy and use social media to talk about your talents, a personal blog, Linkedin, Instagram or Pinterest are good resources where you can show the world what you’ve done.
Once you think you have successfully cleaned your online reputation, it is recommended that you ask a friend or a family member to Google you and see what can be found about you. A fresh set of eyes may help you find trouble spots you hadn’t thought of and let you know about them.
If by any chance you find negative information about you and you don’t have control over it, be proactive and contact the website. Remember, it is your future what is at stake is your future, be careful with it.
To rear more about the things you can do to manage your online reputation before applying to College, click here.