Social media is a tool, a way to communicate and a source of entertainment with current and tech-savvy engineering students are often some of the most prevalent users. Whether it’s used to keep up with friends and family, learn about the latest discoveries or breakthroughs in technology or view and share opinions on changes in the political sphere, social media is constantly changing and connecting people, information and ideas.
As a result, it is essential for students applying for undergraduate and graduate degree programs to be aware that what they choose to post and share on social media can play a significant role in the selection process for many colleges and degree programs.
Over the past year, Kaplan Test Prep’s surveyed more than 350 college admissions officers from institutions across the United States, and found that the percentage of admissions officers who check applicants’ social media profiles has dipped to 35 percent versus 40 percent last year.
However, the number of admissions officers who say that the profiles have a positive impact on a student’s application has risen to 47 percent, from 35 percent last year. What the survey found is that social media sites increasingly affect on the final decision of who gets accepted and who doesn’t.
This poses both potential advantages and disadvantages for engineering students applying to an undergraduate or graduate program.
For those that are aware of these numbers, the possibility of pushing a positive image is a good idea and offers the opportunity to showcase significant accomplishments and endeavours. Specific aspects of profiles which have impressed colleges have included showing personal initiative in such ways as participating in an LGBTQ panel in high school, starting a business with a family member or sharing photos of awards and other achievements.
Social media posts which negatively affected applications involved the use of questionable language around race, writing about an undisclosed felony and brandishing weapons.
As a general rule, the survey findings indicate that sharing posts and stories on social media that reflect well on the student as an overall person can potentially have an positive impact on their university applications. This brings to mind the motto: If in doubt, better to leave it out.
Overall, colleges that look to social media to supplement the information available in student applications explained that they do so to get a clearer impression of the student as a whole. Sometimes there can be information in a student’s social media profiles which, for better or worse, provides a more authentic view of the applicant, which can’t necessarily be seen in a carefully crafted application.
This provides students with a chance to supplement their application with social media pages that reflect their best qualities as a person, which may in turn have a positive impact on their application.
Knowing that these social media sites are not only available to admissions officers, but that they are increasingly taken into consideration during the acceptance process, can remind students there is an advantage to representing themselves in a positive way online.
To learn more about engineering graduate studies, check out Fast-Track Your Engineering Career with a Master’s Degree.
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