The Role Social Media Posts Play in College Admissions
January 18, 2021
Challenge: find a college admissions department that doesn’t care about upholding their reputation or student code of conduct. Today, ensuring that your college provides a safe culture for its students and staff is more important than ever. This is particularly true regarding concerns over racism and violence. For this reason, many college admissions departments are paying close attention to social media and college applications. And, they, should.
When colleges don’t review the social media platforms of student candidates, they run the risk of bigger problems after admitting the student, possible scandals, and other headaches. If only they had performed a simple social media scan (but, we’ll get to that part later). For now, let’s explore what happens when admissions departments don’t do their due diligence in social media vetting.
It’s Not Just Lost Scholarships Due to Social Media Anymore (It’s More)
You may have heard about college applicants being denied athletic scholarships because of poor conduct on social media. A football recruit for Cornell University, for example, verbalized a racial slur on Snapchat that later went viral on Twitter. Despite an apology and an online petition signed by upwards of 400 people, Nate Panza was denied admission to Cornell for his behavior.
But, college athletes and scholarship holders aren’t the only ones facing consequences for poor social media behavior.
A female 2020 valedictorian set to attend the University of Florida was ultimately denied admission for posting derogatory comments about two black classmates while admitting “there’s no denying” that she’s a racist. As a result, the student was denied admission. Interestingly, and important to note—the tweets were not recent. They were reported to be “a few years old.”
But What About First Amendment Rights?
You may be wondering how colleges use social media as a means of denying admission. Doesn’t this violate freedom of speech? As PrepScholar so perfectly put it (in a recent article), “While you may have freedom of speech, that does not mean freedom from consequence!”
As you well know, every college has its own student code of content. Making them extremely clear and posted for all to see helps ensure that you can hold prospective and enrolled students accountable for violating certain online/social media behaviors.
Another way to protect your rights, while also upholding those of applicants, is to partner with a third-party online reputation management company—and one that knows the legal repercussions at stake. This includes understanding the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines.
At LifeBrand, we scan social media platforms utilizing FCRA and EEOC compliant reputation management technology. Our scanning software runs solely on artificial intelligence (AI). This eliminates human bias, thus reducing your risk of discrimination and liability. Plus, it also saves college admission officers significant time from not having to manually scan individual profile pages.