Social Media and College Admissions – Updated for 2021

Does a candidate’s social media presence play a role in a college admission officer’s evaluation of an applicant? The simple answer is YES!

According to Kaplan, “2020 college admissions officers survey shows that a growing percentage of admissions officers think that it’s “fair game” for them to visit applicants’ social media pages to help them decide who gets in. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the 300-plus college admissions officers surveyed see no issue with social media being part of the admissions equation, a point of view that has gained support in recent years. In Kaplan’s 2019 survey, 59 percent of admissions officers reported a “fair game” view, while the 2018 survey found it to be 57 percent. On the flip side, 35 percent of admissions officers consider viewing applicants’ social media “an invasion of privacy and shouldn’t be done.”

The sites Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, are viewed the most, about 36%. There is a definite trend that admission officers think it is okay to use social media as another tool in the admission process, along with GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, admission essays, and extracurricular activities.

What can an applicant do?

  • Be strategic about what you post. Remember what you and your friends may view as funny or innocent; others may find offensive.
  • Spend time cleaning your social media pages of anything you think will reflect poorly on you. If you don’t think your mother or grandmother would like it, then remove it.
  • Use the sites to enhance your attributes. Post an exciting athletic or dance video on YouTube or showcase a community service project on Facebook or Instagram.

A college application aims to prove to the college admission officers that you will be successful in college and beyond. By keeping your social media sites uncontroversial, you will ensure that you are doing everything you can to enhance your chances of admission into the colleges of choice!

If you have any other questions about selecting a college or the admissions process, please contact me through my website at or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!

Andrea K. Frimmer, M. Ed.
Prep 4 College Now, Inc.

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