This blog was written by one of AdmissionsCheckup’s former admissions officer.
If you use any social media platforms in your daily life, you may already be in the right psychological mindset to do a great job on college applications. The college application goes to a more specific audience, but the crafting of how you want to be seen is a similar task. The challenge, just as with social media, is choosing what version of yourself you want to highlight, and finding creative means to showcase that identity.
Your Social Media “Voice”
Developing your social media “voice” is similar in some ways to developing a strong college application. You want to convey a sense of who you are in the limited space available. Sometimes you only have 150 words, sometimes only 280 characters. By writing succinctly to capture attention, sharing images, and following certain people or organizations, you are creating a portrait of yourself.
Skills you use on social media may help you articulate that identity. For example, through the “likes” or other signs of approval, you might be gauging how others see you. By listening and responding to others, you become more conscious of who you are, and who you want to be. This “social listening” should not be the basis of your entire sense of self, but it may prod thinking about your values, morals, and interests.
Getting Comfortable Talking about Feelings
Getting comfortable articulating your feelings, and broadcasting them, is another skill that might be enhanced by using interactive media. College applications demand a certain amount of enthusiasm, which is not easy to do with sincerity. Expression of love for your dream school should go beyond saying you’ve always wanted to go there. Practice articulating emotion – starting with emojis, if you must – but strive to express feelings in a nuanced and thoughtful way.
If you don’t use social media, this is not encouragement to start. Some colleges explicitly say they won’t consider materials other than what is required. Even if they accept it, many admissions officers won’t look at it.
Making Social Media Work for You
If you like social media, however, thoughtful use can benefit your application. Here are some ways:
- Connect with your dream school on all their platforms. It demonstrates interest and keeps you current on their news about campus or local events.
- You can use these channels to interact with students and faculty. Engage in their discussions, ask good questions. You might develop a deeper understanding of the campus culture, which is essential to knowing whether the school is a good match for you.
- Some colleges allow a video “essay” instead of, or in addition to, a written one. A visual narrative can be very powerful. If this is your medium, forward a well-crafted one to your target schools.
If you have an interest or ability that is not easy to communicate on paper, offer social media links. Some schools evaluate performing arts candidates through submission of recordings, but more unusual performance or athletic pursuits (where the college is unlikely to have a resident expert) might be shown in a richer, deeper way in a short video clip or portfolio of images.
And if you use social media to help raise awareness about an issue, to connect and mobilize people across geographical barriers, and to share inspiring images or thoughts, do not hesitate to mention it on applications, especially if you have quantifiable results. It shows you have real skills that would be useful in a college community.
You can’t use gimmicks like colors and filters on applications, but your savvy in differentiating yourself, and appealing to your “audience”, will hopefully translate into smart, creative ways to stand out offline, in real life.
Learn more about how our admissions officers at AdmissionsCheckup can help with your college applications.