Do Colleges Look at Your Social Media?

Whether or not the colleges you apply to should look at your social media has recently become a heavily discussed topic. As that debate rages on, we wanted to find out whether or not they actually do look at it. So, we called colleges. A lot of them. And the general consensus turned out to be quite logical and uncomplicated.

Here are our takeaways:

Generally speaking, the smaller the college the more likely they are to look at your social media accounts. When fewer people apply, admissions teams have a lot more time on their hands to look into your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. But it takes a lot of time to scour the social media pages of applicants, and that’s difficult to do at a school that regularly receives applications by the thousands. At some schools, a set number of applicants are randomly selected and their accounts are searched. And then there are the schools that don’t check social media accounts at all.

We’re refraining from naming schools specifically because this information is subject to change. There are no rules when it comes to checking in on social media. Nothing is set in stone. A bigger school that tends not to check social media could be alerted to a problematic Facebook group, and a smaller liberal arts school that regularly checks accounts could take a year off from their sleuthing.  

What’s crucial to understand is that while colleges don’t always check social media, they absolutely can. For any reason. And yes, there have been more cases than the Harvard example above when a student’s spot was revoked based on their social media activity.

A few admissions team members that we spoke with said that monitoring your social media content is never a bad idea, and something you’ll likely need to do after graduating and before starting your job search. With that, we agree. And while we value creativity and self-expression, we don’t value posting incriminating photos of yourself on the internet for likes.

We can’t say for certain whether or not your Instagram will be reviewed by your dream college. What we can say is that if they find something they don’t like, it will more than likely negatively impact your chances of getting in. So really, why risk it? There’s no need to erase yourself from the internet, but it can’t hurt to take a look at your portfolio and make some edits if necessary. Use your best judgment.


Contact us here if you want to talk about your school list.