By: Amanda Roschli

Social media has increasingly made its way into nearly every facet of our lives, from TV shows streaming Twitter comments during a program to a comedic segment on Jimmy Kimmel appropriately titled, “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets”. Not to mention the majority of companies and brands today have at least one social media account. However, social media has a significant downside, especially for high school students applying to college and recent college graduates seeking job opportunities. Where do we draw the line when it comes to sharing information about ourselves?

According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of U.S. teens are online and 81% of those teens use some kind of social media. The problem is that young people, especially, tend to disclose personal details about themselves on social media, including information that they may not want their parents or boss bearing witness to. While unbeknownst to some, many people are opening themselves up for judgment from their peers, potential employers and colleges.

Many colleges and perspective employers take a look at students’ Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts during their selection process.

  • According to Kaplan’s Test Prep 2014 Survey, 35% of college admissions officers have visited an applicant’s social networking account to learn more about them, and 16% found information that negatively affected prospective students’ acceptance.
  • Facebook status updates, tweets, comments, pictures on Instagram and blogs may impact a college applicant’s acceptance.
  • Job seekers and college-bound students must beware of posting content related to underage substance abuse, vulgar writing, cyber bullying and illegal activities.

The best way to avoid a social media snag is to use the networking accounts to your advantage. Your social media persona should be an extension of your personality.

  • Highlight your interests, talents and unique qualities.
  • Present yourself in a positive and professional manner.
  • Network with people who share your similar interests.

In the past few years, people have been fired for distasteful and obscene tweets, denied acceptance to a college, and even banned by the Olympics because of social media. In 2012, a Greek track and field athlete was banned from the Olympic Games after posting a racist comment on her personal Twitter page. Social media has taken over and its easier than ever to state your opinion or post a picture, but just because you are free to say or post something doesn’t mean that you should.

The last thing you want is to have your social media persona hold you back from a job opportunity or inhibit you from getting into your dream school”.

How have you seen social media negatively impact the students you work with? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Amanda Roschli is a senior Mass Communication major at Towson University. Her special interests include media, sports, writing and advertising. 


Sources:  Track and Field athlete;  Pew Research Center