By: Amani Teshome, Junior at Boston College
We’ve all seen it. As winter and spring approach and Juniors and Seniors in high school are either beginning the application process or are waiting to hear back from a university, some changes begin to occur online.
We’ve all seen the countless attempts at trying to dodge a college admissions officer: the girl who changes her name on Facebook so that her middle name is her last name, the guy who’s Twitter account is now private, or when someone’s Instagram photos now look like their parents took them. I’m here to tell you no matter how slick you think you’re being, chances are admissions officers will still be able to find you.
As vain as this sounds, do yourself a favor and Google your name. What comes up will be shocking to you. Even if you think you’ve blocked your social media adequately, chances are your Facebook profile page will be the first thing to pop up.
You owe it to yourself to check out your profile from an outsiders view to see what it looks like to them. To do this, click the Privacy Shortcuts icon at the top right of your Facebook profile screen. This will give you several options to adjust your privacy options and nowadays Facebook has a neat trick that allows you to see your profile from the perspective of someone who isn’t your friend. This small trick could save you a lot of trouble.
I’ll admit, I have been subject to having one or two risqué items on my Facebook page and as ironic as it may be, I didn’t really think too much about cleaning up my page until AFTER I’d gotten into the schools I wanted to go to. I decided to make some changes when it dawned on me, as it does on the majority of students, that my mother could easily see what was on my Facebook page. For the sake of her not asking me twenty questions I decided it was time to clean it up.
I made my profile exclusive only to those who were my friends and I began leaning towards profile pictures that showed either my interests or accomplishments (the latter of which is a bit conceited but hey, I was eighteen) as opposed to something fun I had done over the weekend. I felt these steps were necessary even after I’d gotten into college in case a college admission officer wanted to do some research on me and do the “oh so difficult” task of typing “Amani Teshome” into the Facebook search engine.
In the midst of my Facebook spring cleaning it really hit me how easy it now is to see what you do online. Although we may think, “There’s no way a college admission officer will look through all the applicants online.” Or, “Even if they do look, the chances of them looking me up is slim to none.” I assure you this naïve thinking will not yield positive results.
Not to assume that everyone has incriminating items on their Facebook page, but chances are you still probably don’t want someone looking through your stuff. Hypothetically, of course, if you do have incriminating things online, it wouldn’t hurt to either clean up your profile or change your privacy settings, considering these steps take literally a few minutes (if that) and will ensure you’re protected.
As you grow older, this process will prove helpful when applying for internships and jobs and at the end of the day give you peace of mind. So please, do yourself a favor and start cleaning up your social media, you’ll be glad you did.