Should students have profiles on all major social networks?

So, you have worked hard to get high grades and write a strong application essay, and you were quite sure that it would work out…only to find out that it didn’t. Naturally, no one will explain you the reason of rejection in a long apologizing letter, but you can try to figure it out yourself. First of all, take a good look at your social network profiles.

Although it might not lie on the surface, the real question here is not whether you should or should not have profiles, but what kind of information you can upload. According to Kaplan Test Prep survey, about a third of all admission officers checked profiles of their applicants online and often found things they were not amused with. Especially if you are an international student, cross-cultural differences might sentence your application to death.

It’s the minor things that matter.A bottle of beer on the photo, a racist joke or a rude comment. Remember that Belgian girl who was discovered by L’Oréal during the World Cup 2014 and then discarded almost immediately after they found her African safari pictures online? This is how it works now, in the age of modern technologies.

The fact of having many profiles will hardly influence the decision of your admission officer or an employee, but inappropriate content might.

However, if you are an active social networker and if you are not ready to delete all the history for sentimental reasons, you can take measures to prevent someone going through your dirty laundry. All you have to do is use privacy settings. Your account is visible to every Internet user by default, and if you want to restrict access, go to settings and uncheck “Enable Public Search”. At least, this is how it works with Facebook. Then deal with other networks.

Plenty of applicants feel that an attractive profile will boost their chances of getting enrolled or employed. In this case it is wiser to spend efforts on creating one or two strong profiles on the most frequently used services and forget about the rest. Focus on quality, not quantity.

Also, think of the networks that relate to your interests and future field of study. Instagram will help you to get a place in the Art class, if you have uploaded beautiful and unique photos by yourself. You can’t put all of them into your portfolio, so choose only the best and leave the rest to be reviewed online.

Finally, if you are applying for a job, your fist choice should be LinkedIn and nothing else. Check other profiles for inappropriate content, but focus on this one and make sure it makes you look a desirable candidate and a valuable asset to any company.

Using these simple rules, you can increase your attractiveness to any judge, starting from an admission officer and up to HR’s of major companies. Think first, post later. This is the rule to stick when dealing with social networks.