Social Media and Your College Application - Total Testing Education

Social Media and Your College Application

Your social media behavior may seriously affect your college plans. Michael Harwin, P.C. of Tucson AZ warns you…

Even in a public university where the First Amendment gives student speech, especially political speech, tremendous protection, courts have upheld a university’s right to discipline students when their social media posts violate university policies.

Facebook, Tik-Tok and Instagram are not private

Your new reality is that if you post content that may conflict with the views of your college, they may be able to rescind scholarships, kick you off the team and even withdraw admission offers. You don’t have to look far, to find stories of students who have used offensive, insensitive, and threatening language on social media and paid harsh consequences. It may surprise you that it may not only be negative social media that is upsetting colleges, it may also be the monetizing content by amateur sports people. You need to know the rules and policies of your chosen college and make sure that you aren’t at odds with your dream school.

It’s all over the news

It seems like every week there’s another story of how another social media user has fallen foul of school expectations and standards.

  • Yahoo Sports reported that a lacrosse player lost her place on the team, her scholarship and her place at Marquette University after her post commenting on George Floyd’s death drew outrage.
  • CBS Sports reported that a UC Florida football player lost his place on the team, which means he also lost his scholarship due to his YouTube channel. He had over 90,000 subscribers, had over 5 million views, and was paid for his athletics videos. BUT he’s not allowed to earn money as a college athlete.
  • According to The Cornell Daily Sun, a student was recorded using a racial slur in a Snapchat video. Even though he issued an apology, he still lost his spot on the football team and later turned down his place at Cornell.  The newspaper later reported that he would no longer be attending Cornell, though the exact reason remains unclear.
  • And it’s not just sports, a Central Lake College student was expelled from the school’s nursing program for postings that the school deemed “unbecoming of the profession and (a) transgression of professional boundaries.”

And, don’t think that the courts are going to help you…

Michael Harwin commented that in the case of the dismissed nursing student mentioned above, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the student’s First Amendment rights had not been violated and that the school had a legitimate educational purpose in teaching nursing students how to adhere to a code of ethics. So think very carefully about what you are prepared to stake in your free speech gamble.

Learn from their mistakes…not yours

And while you may be thinking that you’ve never posted anything like what you’ve read here, remember that they’re even looking in your photos. A high school prom photo of a straight-A student posing with guns lost her high school graduation, scholarship, and place at college. She thought she was posting a “normal” picture… but the college thought otherwise.

Recruiting Solutions says it very well:

It’s important you are educated on the impact social media can have on your future. The use of profanity, images of you with alcohol, bullying, and wearing skimpy clothing are all examples of how it may cost you a scholarship. It’s not just the scholarship you should be concerned with either. College admissions offices and employers are also going to be using social media to better understand what kind of candidate you are.

So take the opportunity for social networking to clean out, as it’s better you put out your trash before someone else finds it. And from now on, think before you go posting for all the world to see. You just never know who…


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