So, you think getting good grades and a perfect academic record are enough to get you into that dream college or university? When you aim for the best, you should know that you will face stiff competition from thousands of fellow students who may be just as academically qualified as you. When applying to college, grad school, or even an internship in today’s digital age, the one thing that can set you apart is your clean online reputation.
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Admissions is looking at you on social media.
According to Kaplan Test Prep’s College Admissions Officers Survey, 26 percent of admissions officers do a Google search of candidates to find information about them and 26 percent of them have reviewed applicants’ social media profiles.
Among comparable test scores, grades, and extracurricular achievements, you can now see just how important your digital footprint becomes as a deciding factor on whether you get a seat at your chosen college or university or land that ideal internship.
What are they seeing?
As a young student, much of your life is an open book that is easily accessible through your multiple social profiles. While it’s great to share every single update about your life online—from the parties you attend to the kind of movies you like to watch, you should know that someone you may not know can take this information seriously and form an impression about you. Without you realizing it, every post, photo, or comment that you share on social media contributes to your online reputation and how you may be perceived by others.
While you may wax eloquent about your achievements at school or in college on your application form, it becomes highly disconcerting if an admissions officer finds your profiles on social media to be the complete opposite of the person that you are attempting to portray through your application form.
When it comes to social media, knowingly or unknowingly, there is much that gets shared about your life—either directly through you or indirectly through your circle of friends who tag you in various posts and photos. Some of the content could be offensive and could negatively impact your reputation.
Offline is not the answer.
You may think restricting access to your social profiles by strangers would be a quick solution to your problems. While it is a good idea to have privacy settings for most of your activity, you need to be somewhat visible online. If your admissions officer does indeed try to look you up on social media and is unable to find you at all, it will may raise further suspicions about you—especially since it’s hard to believe that you may not be a social media user. Updating your privacy settings is a good idea, but keeping yourself entirely hidden is not.
So, what’s the best way out? Before you sit down for that important test or start filling out your application forms, you may want to spend some time reviewing your activity on your social accounts. However, this can be an extremely tedious process, even for the average Facebook user.
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A manual review of your activity log could take hours, days, or even weeks, and may not be the best way to spruce up your profile. There’s always the possibility that you may miss out on seeing a few posts since you’re unable to view your profile from an objective perspective.
How can a service help you?
Instead, you could consider signing up for automated reputation management consultants and services that could take care of this task for you, leaving you with ample time to study and prepare for your application process. Research these services thoroughly. Many can be rather expensive.
One reasonably priced option for an online reputation management service is RepNup. The service uses complex algorithms and advanced computer vision technology to scan through your Facebook profile and detect any potentially harmful content and images.
Once you sign up for the RepNup service, its technology performs a discreet assessment of your profile and social media activity and sends you an actionable report containing links to any offensive or problematic content on your profile. You can then choose to limit the visibility of each of these posts or images or remove them from your profile at your end.
The automated scanning ensures that your profile gets checked in a comprehensive manner and that you are able to clean up your reputation in a jiffy, without the stress and worry of doing it all on your own. It is fast, efficient, reliable, affordable, and an absolute must-have before you get started on fulfilling your educational and professional dreams.
Lior Tal is the cofounder of RepNup. Before starting RepNup, Lior cofounded several cyber security start-ups. Included is Guardium, which was acquired by IBM for $225M and Insightix which was acquired by McAfee. Lior got his BA in Economics from Bar Ilan university in Israel and attended Boston University’s Executive MBA program while living in Boston. Lior also cofounded PG guard, an online service to safeguard children on social networks.