Is Your Online Reputation Ready for College?

online reputation evan mcgowan watson

The old adage “think before you speak” has transformed in the online space as “think before you Tweet, Instagram, or Facebook post — college hopefuls especially. With 140 characters, your reputations can acutely impact your chance of getting into your college of choice. In fact, a 2013 survey by Kaplan revealed that thirty percent of admissions officers gave negative strikes to applicants with unsavory online reputations. In this age where almost everything is accessible through online searches, your online reputation is part of your admissions packet.

This doesn’t mean that students need to convey a demure, perfectly still, or fabricated identify. It’s important to be yourself and let your personality through. Taking control of your online branding is crucial for getting into college, and just as important when you eventually apply for future jobs.

Here are some methods you can use to secure the image you want to portray to make you look good:

Google It!

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The first step in building a great online presence is to Google yourself! Go further to check the health of your online reputation, you can use BrandYourself’s DIY product. It’ll give you a better idea of what’s coming up for admissions officers looking you up. Are your results accurate?

The Whole World Doesn’t Need To See Your Vacation Photos

In the same survey, Kaplan reported that thirty-one percent of admissions officers revealed that they scan a candidate’s Facebook page to get a more well-rounded picture of that person. The easiest way to keep what’s sensitive or personal private is to use your social media properties’ privacy settings. Both Facebook and Twitter have them. If having a very public face is important to you, you can create an alternate page for that reason.

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Being Private Doesn’t Mean You Need to Disappear

None of this is to make you hyper paranoid. There is no need to delete all your accounts. Having no presence online can be almost as suspicious to searchers as too many negatives. Your online presence represents you to the worldwide public. We’ve already been talking about keeping the negatives at bay; another way to protect your image is to brand your image. Online reputation management isn’t just about prevention, branding and monitoring are secondary measures, so don’t use an invisibility cloak.

Use The Internet – Don’t Let It Use You

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Disregarding social media and online properties you own as power tools is a huge mistake. This is a great way to let your personality shine and show your college that you’re interested in more than retweeting celebrities.

Make sure you own your domain — your .com being the most important. Jeb Bush recently learned this the hard way when Donald Trump had JebBush.com redirect to Trump’s site. So buy your domain if it exists and keep it active by blogging on it. Tactics like these will help strengthen your online brand and give you control. The more control you have, the better equipped you will be to establish the sort of image you want to present. Maintaining your online reputation requires spot checks and diligence, even after you’ve graduated college. Making sure you know how and where your name is ranking is something you should incorporate into a routine.

Right now, the West Village is full of capes and gowns, because it is graduation season at NYU. Parents and students flock the streets with hard-won diplomas. What many students may not know is that their resumes are open to interpretation, for future employers to scrutinize. Likebrushing your teeth, keeping your online reputation ‘clean’ should be a preventive measure. Trying to bury a negative online presence will be a lot more challenging.

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