Social media accounts not a factor in Rutgers admission process

<p>Students should be aware of how their social media profiles reflect themselves. While Rutgers does not look at digital profiles for their admissions process, some colleges do.</p>

Students should be aware of how their social media profiles reflect themselves. While Rutgers does not look at digital profiles for their admissions process, some colleges do.

While social media might not impact a potential student's chances of getting into Rutgers, it can still have far-reaching effects on their lives.

Many public universities, including Rutgers, do not currently consider social media in their admissions process, but about 30 percent of institutions do consider checking it. 

Although Rutgers--New Brunswick does not consider social media information when making admissions decisions, Undergraduate Admissions recommends that students always consider the consequences of their online actions and be responsible digital citizens, said Diane Harris, director of Marketing and Communications of Undergraduate Admissions, in an email.

Companies may also make hiring decisions based on social media profiles, said Tamara Peters, career development specialist at University Career Services.

“Employers have been Googling job applicants for years to learn more about the individual, and they check profiles on popular networking sites before making interviewing and hiring decisions,” she said in an email.

Peters said there are some key qualities that almost all employers are looking for in candidates.

“It’s to your advantage to highlight these qualities through your social media platforms, or at least, not discredit them,” she said.

Social media is an extension of an image, and it only takes one misstep to negatively impact an employer, said Melissa Blake, assistant director for Marketing and Communications at University Career Services.

She advises students that if they would not let their grandma look see their social media profiles, the content may not be appropriate to an employer either. 

“There are many resources available to students to help them clean up their profiles. You can take steps as simple as having an objective friend or family member review your content for you and let you know if they think some of your posts might be found questionable by an employer,” Blake said.

Peters said drinking in photos, complaining about issues, making fun of people, harassing others and sexual oversharing can affect hiring decisions and prevent someone from being hired.

Blake said although LinkedIn is a more professionally focused social media platform, a LinkedIn profile should not be so drastically different from students' other social media.

Employers may notice a big difference between a LinkedIn profile and other social media, which can cause them to question the integrity and validity of the content provided on LinkedIn, she said. 

“Make sure that you lock up your personal images by making your accounts private or to be on the safe side, don’t post these images and remove them from your accounts,” Blake said.

Peters' advice to students is to take control, use social media to portray who they are, including their interests, what they have to offer professionally and qualities about them, in the best possible light.

“Understand that what you put out on social media sites, especially content that isn’t private, is part of your 'personal brand.' What do you want your brand to say about you?” she said.

Blake said students can use sites like Rep’n Up, which reviews social media platforms and provide a report about content to augment or take down.

“Job seekers who want to attract attention and land short-term gigs will rely on digital footprints, or what employers can find about them online," Peter said. "These online profiles will help market jobseekers' skills and accomplishments to potential employers."

Sanjana Chandrasekharan is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.

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