Of all the public and private high schools in the United States alone, there were 3.2 million graduates in 2012. Of those 3.2 million high school graduates, 43,300 were able to put the prestigious valedictorians on their high school resumes and college applications. That means that there were also 43,300 salutatorians and 320,000 students who could say they finished within the top 10% of their class.
Among America’s smartest and most talented, there are only a handful of prestigious college and universities that top students are eager to apply for. In 2012 alone, SAT Prep Group’s graduates spanned across several of these universities including but not limited to – Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, UPenn, Duke, NYU, Emory, Brown, Cornell, John’s Hopkins, and MIT.
Let’s crunch even more numbers shall we? Of the eight schools in the United States considered Ivy League schools a total of 14,000 high school graduates were accepted into Freshman programs in 2013. These same schools experienced over 250,000 applicants for first year programs. “According to The New York Times, Stanford accepted 5.69 percent of its more than 38,800 applicants; the University of Chicago accepted 8.8 percent of its more than 30,300 applicants; Vanderbilt accepted 11.97 percent of its more than 31,000 applicants; and Duke accepted 12.93 percent of its more than 31,000 applicants. The University of Southern California reported receiving more than 47,000 applications this past year. That’s 10,000 more students than just two years ago.”
In 2011, the average college admissions counselors was responsible for reading 622 applications. In 2005 the average counselor was only responsible for 359. However, over the years means for processing college applications have not improved and counselors have little help in considering the best of the best. An ivy leage school admissions counselor has said, “some 70 percent of kids who apply are qualified to come to school here, and we have space for one in ten. We can be as choosy as we like. It almost always comes down to whether or not you’re a likeable person.”
Few students know or understand what makes them a likeable person to a potential college or university. In today’s digital age where a majority of high school students document their entire lives online, schools are turning to social media to decipher who will become their new, upstanding Freshman students. Over 25% of college and university counselors have admitted to determining a student’s qualifications by looking the student up on Google or Facebook. Finding a student online helps a counselor determine the “applicant’s transparency, credibility, maturity, genuineness and likeability.”
What students share online unfortunately has no half-life and simply making your friendly interactions private may not help a student rise above the rest. The risk of making a profile entirely private (especially multiple profiles) comes down to counselors believing the applicant has something to hide. Consider what information is public. An applicant’s profile picture alone can determine whether that student is trying too hard or not trying hard enough when little to no other information is available on the student. Although determining a students final qualification in this manner doesn’t seem fair, applican’ts should consider online presence as their first impression.
Even if a college admissions counselor is searching for you online, this doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily looking for red flags. Often admissions counselors are looking for any actionable item that may put you above and beyond students of the same caliber.
Applicants should consider this short check list prior to applying to any school:
- remove questionable posts
- remove questionable photos
- optimize your social presence to be positive
- showcase your interests and extracurricular activities
- highlight what it is about you that you describe in your college application essay
Applicants should embrace social media and consider these important rules for their social footprint for years prior to college. Consider social media an online resume. An applicant’s ability to choose how he or she is seen by the college or university of their dreams is priceless.
What will YOU be highlighting within your social presence? Tell us in the comments below!
Have you read our blog on how to boost your high school resume? Consider this blog a guideline for the type of information you should be displaying publicly and highlighting online.
For students looking for that extra boost to college acceptance, join SAT Prep Group in their online college application writing series.
*Please note: this blog is based on and quotes important information from Business Insider's article Why Ivy League Admissions Will Google You
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