Can Social Media Impact Your Chance at a Scholarship?
Many college-aged kids use social media for one purpose or another. Whether you tweet about your favorite football team, use Snap Chat to stay in touch with friends, or post in Instagram to share vacation pictures, chances are that you have a consistent online presence on multiple sites. While you may think of social media as nothing more than harmless fun, it can actually impact your ability to get scholarships. The good news is that you can also use your Internet presence to your advantage by searching for scholarships to fund your college education. The bad news is if you don't manage your online presence effectively, then it will actually work against you.
The positive impact of social media
If you're looking for a merit-based scholarship (e.g., athletics, student government, volunteerism), then posting highlights of your achievements to social media platforms can help your scholarship credibility. There are a number of ways you can do this, such as posting pictures on Instagram of you accepting a volunteer award or tweeting about your softball team winning a championship game. You can also write public blogs and notes about accomplishments that a potential scholarship committee may deem worthy. If you're majoring in the arts, take the time to have a sampling of your work available online for public viewing. Remember, many scholarship committees will now search for you online and they will take note of both positive and negative information.
You can also network for available scholarships through social media sites. This means reaching out to people and letting them know that you're on the hunt for scholarships. This searching net will reach as far as your friends and followers. Perhaps your cousin, uncle, neighbor, old camp pal or past employer can clue you in to financial aid opportunities that you never knew existed.
The negative impact of social media
You should take care about what you post online as colleges may look at social accounts, profiles, and postings. These social media profiles help college admissions officers, coaches, and scholarship committees get a better understanding of who you are.
While you may have begun using social media as a place to post funny memes, photos, and jokes between you and your friends when you were younger, realize that what you post from your earlier years may still be accessible when you are trying to apply for college. Before submitting any application, it's a good idea to review your profiles, do a Google search of your name, and clean up any questionable content that you have posted in the past.
Using Social Media as a Tool
Make a search of your name online. If you see something that is troublesome, such as a public note about an embarrassing incident, work diligently to get the content removed. For your own site, set your account to private if you have concerns that your pages may be unattractive to others. Having a private profile on sites such as Facebook isn't just wise from a scholarship seeking perspective, but from a safety and privacy viewpoint as well.
It may be helpful in your college scholarship search to have a searchable webpage dedicated to you and your accomplishments. As long as this is properly maintained and done in a professional manner, it will go a long ways to helping pay your college tuition via scholarships.
Social media and an online presence can be extremely powerful in your quest for scholarships. As you take a multi-faceted approach to scholarship seeking, use this valuable tool while mitigating anything unfavorable that may hinder your credentials.