There's no doubt that social media has changed the way we discuss news, sport and our personal lives, and even who
we discuss these things with, but how does it impact your chances of landing that dream scholarship you've been working so hard to achieve?
Well, according to studies, 80% of college admissions are using search engines and student's social media profiles to check out their applicants and determine if they really do deserve the scholarship on offer. And as more and more people apply to go to university every year, you've really got to make sure you stand out among the crowd...for all the right reasons.
“Social media also provides another glimpse into a player’s character. Kids need to understand that they have to be very careful about what they do on social media.” Will Muschamp, Head Football Coach, Florida Gators
Case in Point
was a highly sought after American Football player, who had secured a scholarship to The University of Michigan while in high school. After working hard for years at his sport and studies to land such a scholarship, he lost both the deal and got expelled from school in a matter of hours after tweeting obscenities
. While Yuri clearly crossed the line, and there's no doubt about that, similar stories
have recently appeared that have caused a greater deal of controversy: Caitlin Ortiz got dropped from her softball team after posting rap lyrics on twitter, once
. Unfair? Unfortunately It's not up to us to decide, Caitlin's coach considered it as creating a bad image for the team she was in and so dropped her. This just goes to show how careful you need to be!
So how do you make sure your doing it right?
- Set up Facebook, Google, MSN, Bing, Twitter etc alerts so that you will be notified/emailed every time you are tagged in a post or image so that you can act on it immediately, if need be.
- Sites like Facebook also have a notification feature that means you are alerted and then need to confirm an action before it is posted on your profile.
- Treat your social networks as your way of building you as a brand, as full-on as it sounds, you need to market yourself as a scholarship-worthy potential student, and for this reason, be aware of the impact the content you're putting online will have in terms of sealing your scholarship deal.
- Make your profiles private to add that extra layer of privacy to your social networks, but never completely rely on privacy settings, as there are a few ways your potential coach can bypass them, i.e. if a friend of yours posts something about you on their profile and their profile is not private.
- Show how interested you are in your sport, start a blog or get involved with discussions via your social networks.
- Have a social network 'spring-clean' to get rid of any images, content or groups that you may have added/liked/joined in the past but no longer want to be associated with.
And our last bit of advice - if you're in any doubt about the impact putting something online will have, then it's probably not a good idea to put it online!
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Do you think you have what it takes to secure a scholarship to study in the USA while playing your favourite sport? Apply now for your assessment!