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The Oracle

Student social media presents potential for positive practice

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In light of college application season, many students may suddenly realize that the way they represent themselves on social media is not the way they want admissions counselors to see them. Some students have been known to change their Facebook names and delete questionable photos on Instagram and Twitter in order to combat this problem.

Some South students have said they feel comfortable posting pictures of themselves taking part in discouraged activities online. These activities could include underage drinking, illegal drug use or vandalism. Some students attribute their comfort to privacy settings, false usernames and blocking followers.

According to an article on Time.com, 40 percent of admissions counselors visit prospective students’ social media pages in order to learn more about them, such as their creative interests, and to investigate reports of inappropriate behavior. The Oracle Editorial Board urges students to use social media accounts as positive tools that will aid them in the college application process.

According to sophomore Janet Scheffler*, choosing to post a photo online is less about the implications behind that photo, and more about how it presents her physical appearance to her followers and friends.

“If it’s a good photo, I’m not going to waste that opportunity,” Scheffler said. “Because […] sometimes it’s hard for me to take a good photo, so if it’s good, I’m going to use it. But […] I’m going to cover [anything illegal with a sticker].”

Scheffler believes that by covering direct evidence of her inappropriate behavior, she is erasing the evidence that she participated in unlawful activities. However, the Oracle Editorial Board believes that this is not enough to shield students from the repercussions of breaking the law and posting suggestive photos online.

In addition, while it is important for students not to paritcipate in illegal activities and avoid posting incriminating photos of themselves, it is also important to avoid sharing photos of friends taking part in unlawful behavior. These are just as permanent online as photos people post of themselves. By posting a photo of someone else, that person is left with no power to take the photo down.

Senior Jane Carpenter changed her name on Facebook because she believes that colleges should not visit students’ social media accounts during the admissions process. She explained that what she posts on social media does not reflect who she is as a person, even though she does not share incriminating content.

“I don’t think a silly face should affect my college decision or affect how I’m considered as a student,” Carpenter said. “Appearances definitely matter more than [I think they should].”

While there are many examples of the negative impact that social media creates in the admissions process, there are also many positive ways that students can use them. By using Facebook, Instagram and other accounts to reinforce the extra curricular activities and interests which a student notes on their application, social media can be a great way to represent oneself to college admissions counselors.

Students can use social media to build a portfolio of their high school career. Instead of filling a profile with posed photos with friends, students can ask parents and peers to take photos during sports games, performances or any other events in which they participate and post them online.

There are countless stories of social media becoming a problem for students and even adults down the road. While a social media image is important in the college admissions process, it will also be important as students step out of college and into job applications and careers. Instead of letting social media become a problem, build a habit of using it as a positive tool to further your opportunities and strive toward success.

*names have been changed

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School
Student social media presents potential for positive practice