Do Colleges Check Social Media During the Application Process?

May 6, 2024

An increasingly common question has emerged in recent years while today’s students navigate the digital landscape: Do colleges check social media during the application process?


The answer: Yes…they do. 


In fact, according to a  2018 Kaplan Test Prep survey,  25% of college admissions officers review applicants’ social media profiles.


What about attitudes toward this practice? Kaplan’s 2023 survey provides more insight. Interestingly, while 67% of admissions officers believe it’s fair game to check social media to learn about applicants, only 28% say they actually do so. This suggests a gap between theory and practice.


Victor Nappen, Science and CTA Teacher at Millville High School said:

My use of LifeBrand inspired me to do an entire lesson to my students about the impact their online presence they are building now will have on them in the future…. I taught them, and LifeBrand taught me, that we all need to be very careful what we post. No matter what, LifeBrand is there for all of us to help make sure our social media looks good to potential employers, friends, family, and loved ones.”


Christine Lilley, executive director of college admissions programs at Kaplan, notes the diverse perspectives within the admissions community. Some see social media scrutiny as invasive, while others prioritize traditional application materials. Yet, when admissions officers deep dive into social media, they often uncover content that could harm an applicant’s chances.


Watch these West Chester University College Students run their Keep, Edit, Delete with LifeBrand & see what posts pop up on their social media that they don’t want recruiters to see:

With the digital SAT® on the horizon, admissions officers are increasingly aware of the digital footprint applicants leave behind. This underscores the importance of digital literacy and responsible online behavior among college-bound students.


Additionally, a Gallup study highlights the significant amount of time teenagers spend on social media. Just over half of U.S. teenagers (51%) report spending at least four hours per day using a variety of social media apps such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), a Gallup survey of more than 1,500 adolescents finds. This use amounts to 4.8 hours per day for the average U.S. teen across seven social media platforms tested in the survey.This further emphasizes the need for students to be mindful of their online presence and its potential impact on college admissions.


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