General Education

Getting Ready to Apply to College? Clean Up Your Facebook Page

Getting Ready to Apply to College? Clean Up Your Facebook Page
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Shanon Lee profile
Shanon Lee June 3, 2014

Get acquainted with the steps necessary to sharpen your social media presence.

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Did you know that some colleges weed out applicants based on their social media activity? According to a study by Kaplan Test Prep, 31 percent of college admission advisors check applicants' Facebook pages and other social media profiles. Some openly admitted that negative online activity has led to the rejection of applicants.

Negative content on your Facebook page can decrease your chance of admission into college and cost you valuable college scholarships. Here are some precautions you can take to ensure that your Facebook activity doesn't ruin your opportunities for college:

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

Control who can find and view your Facebook profile by adjusting your privacy settings. The privacy settings menu allows you to determine who can view your updates, who can tag you in updates, who can search for your Facebook page, and who can send you a friend request. The "public" setting allows your content to be viewable to everyone. Non-Facebook users can even view your updates via search engine results. Consider changing this setting to an option that allows confidentiality, so you know who is viewing your activity.

Remove Suggestive Photos

Remove any photos that may be considered indecent or offensive. Remove all photos that may harm your reputation (i.e. photos taken at a party with alcohol or drugs). Do not post photos that you would not want your future college professors to see. Also, be sure to untag your profile from any photos posted by friends that could be deemed unsuitable. Get in the practice of posting clean content, so nothing can come back to haunt you.

Delete Inappropriate Comments

Delete and untag your profile from any updates containing comments that could easily be taken out of context and be considered inappropriate. If you have been guilty of trolling in the past, stop the behavior and remove any evidence of your past activity. Do not post comments about your parents, teachers, or peers that is hateful or disrespectful. Going forward, every comment that you post on Facebook should reflect how you want to be judged publicly.

Remove Yourself From Public Groups

Information that you post in public Facebook groups can be viewed by anyone on Facebook and turn up in search engine results. Remove yourself from all groups (public and private) that involve controversial topics. Delete all updates that you have made in groups that are combative or offensive. To be safe, only participate in groups that are positive and aligned with your future goals.

Rethink Your Connections

Facebook is a great way to stay connected with old friends and make new ones, however you should unfriend anyone that would reflect poorly on you. This includes friends who make offensive comments, post lewd photos, promote violence, or have a questionable reputation. In addition, refrain from accepting friend requests from individuals that you do not know. If you do, you could run the risk of unknowingly being investigated by a college admissions advisor.

Following these tips can help you avoid making critical mistakes that could limit your future college prospects. Plus, it's a great way to spread happiness to your Facebook friends through your fun and friendly posts.


Cohen, D. (2013). How many college admissions officers check applicants’ Facebook profiles? Retrieved from AllFacebook

Singer, N. (2013). They loved your G.P.A. Then they saw your tweets. Retrieved from the New York Times