Watch out: your Instagram posts could decide college for you

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Elyssa Lieu

Even though a stunning 72% of Instagram users are teenagers, Snapchat remains the app that teens use most often on average.

Lucy Dou, Staff Writer

Teenagers spend around 9 hours on social media. That statistic isn’t surprising – if you’re like most people, then you know all too well the feeling of scrolling on Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok for hours on end. But social media might be more important than you think, especially for juniors and seniors. For all those applying for college, here’s your PSA of the day: your social media can seriously affect whether you’re accepted or not.

“Some colleges ask students for their media information, especially international students. For example, they ask Chinese students to provide information about their WeChat. [Colleges] put a section on college applications for students about social media, but students are able to make their own choice about putting in their social media information,” said Judy Xu (‘20).

Even if it’s not a requirement,  a survey by Kaplan found that 25% of college admission officers check applicants’ social media. 

“If you always post something negative on your social media, there’s a higher chance that it will influence your college application. I mean, social media is a place [where] we post our daily life, our feelings and friends, and it has already become an important part of high school students’ lives,” said Yuki Yang (‘21)

Social media is starting to be taken more and more seriously. It’s no longer considered just a side-hobby; from running a study channel to having a popular fitness-gram, social media is a way for colleges to know more about yourself. Standing out from a sea of applicants means getting colleges interested in you, and that can only happen if you give them something to work with.

But to some students, social media remains something that’s only meant for personal entertainment.

“In my opinion, social media has no effects on college apps… You can use it to do your research [for colleges], but going on their websites [would be] more accurate,” said Lynn Chen (‘20).

However you choose to manage your media accounts, it’s undeniable that it does matter. Past events like when Harvard kicked out ten students because of their online comments or when a student got exposed for lying on her application are proof that you can never be sure that a college admissions officer isn’t scrolling through your Instagram right now.