Twitter is a fun and quick way to express one’s opinion. It also is a very powerful and potentially dangerous tool. In fact, it could possibly get one’s college admissions revoked, and impact the way hiring companies view that person.
A survey performed in 2009 by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling showed that 88 percent of admissions officers believed that social networking sites were either somewhat important or very important to their current and future recruitment efforts.
“Absolutely tweets can affect a prospective student’s admission,” Michigan State University Admissions Counselor John Hoffschneider said. “Any thing you put on social networking sites can affect it, because if you put something on your page that can be seen as threatening, derogatory, or causing harm, who‘s to say that you‘ll stop once you get into college?”
This means social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr could have a negative impact on admissions to colleges for Seaholm students.
“Although admission counselors may not check specifically each student’s profiles or blogs, it is best to follow these guidelines given the open and accessible nature of the internet,” Seaholm college and career center instructor Judith Stahl said.
A survey of Seaholm students who used Twitter showed that 60 percent of students had deleted at least one tweet, of which 60 percent of students said were deleted because they were offensive or inappropriate.
“I don’t put a lot of thought into my tweets,” junior Winna Wu said. “I tweet when it feels like the right thing to do.”
Of the 50 students who admitted to deleting at least one tweet, 72 percent of them said the motive behind the tweet was humor or on the spur of the moment.
“I tweet funny things,” junior Mariah Cummings said. “If I think its funny, I’m gonna tweet it.”
Even if it is light hearted or sarcastic, students should still be careful about what they tweet. As it can be a repellent to companies looking to hire.
“It doesn’t happen often with jobs that pay less than $50,000, because they don‘t have the time to look,” Licensed Professional Counselor Nolan Moore said. “However, when you’re talking six-figures and upwards, it is common practice.”
The reason this is a problem for young adults is, unlike accomplished professionals who utilize social networking to promote a positive image, they use it as a source of entertainment.
“Most of the time, the people that are in the position to be hired for high paying and high profile jobs are intelligent and experienced professionals, so they present themselves in a professional and positive manner on Facebook and Twitter,” Moore said. “High school and college students, however, have very little self control, so it can be a problem.”
With the development of technology and social networking, more and more companies are becoming sensitive to the activities done by potential employees. According to Reputations.com, a recent poll showed that approximately 80 percent of recruiting professionals incorporate online reputation research into their hiring process, and that 70 percent of those companies have rejected an applicant due to something they found online.
“The trend is the education level,” Moore said. “Lower the education level, the more abrasive, derogatory, and personal information can be found on that person’s page.”
However, there are ways to avoid getting in trouble because of social media. In some cases, students can actually improve their chances of getting accepted by colleges and getting a job after college.
“Put more positive things on your page,” Moore said. “Use social networking to better your career, even if you’re still in high school. Put more posts about the field you aspire to go into.”
Still, profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites should be monitored and used carefully.
“Social media is a double edge sword,” said Hoffschneider. “There are many positive things, but be very conscious about what you post. It can not only affect your college admissions, but also your future employment.”
At the same time, students should be aware and carefully select their usernames and what basic information is shown to the general public, even if they cannot access the whole page.
“It is just good common sense to ensure that your social networking usernames are appropriate and respectful.” Stahl said. “A student with an email of “ihatetostudy” or “partygirl” may want to rethink their choice of username as it will immediately reflect on the kind of student they will be.”
To Seaholm students that use Twitter and other social networking sites, Stahl has a couple words of advice.
“Remember that twitter entries can be added on your admissions file, be as polite and respectful in a tweet as you would be face to face,” Stahl said. “Students should remain cautious of publishing tweets considering they are open and accessible to a worldwide audience when posted.”