To post or not to post

Creative Commons Photo Courtesy of Instagram

According to a survey of 115 students from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14, 2019, 82.6 percent of students have not gotten in trouble for something they posted online.

Kaitlyn Delaney

When colleges perform routine background checks of applicants, they look for education history, employment history, criminal records and now, social media. According to a study conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, 68 percent of colleges believe searching social media during the admissions process is “fair game.”

Senior Allie Beekman of Neptune is cautious of her social media posts for this reason.

“I want to know that when they look at my social media profiles they’re seeing a positive image that will help, or at least not hurt, my application,” Beekman said. “Sometimes it seems like the smallest things have a huge impact on applications.”

In June 2017, ten incoming Harvard students had their admissions revoked after their racially offensive private Facebook messages surfaced. According to Vice, the students sent these messages in a group chat of roughly 100 students in Harvard’s Class of 2021. When the messages surfaced, Harvard officials reviewed them and informed the ten students of their loss of admission.

But, social media isn’t just a concern when it comes to applying to schools. According to Cision PR Newswire, 70 percent of employers conduct similar social media background checks on prospective employees to learn more about their social standings and media presence.

Employers expect that candidates have a positive social media presence, and they are less likely to be called back for an interview if they don’t. In fact, 57 percent of employers have found content online that has stopped them from hiring someone, according to Cision.

According to Workopolis, Yelp employee Talia Jane took to social media to share a seemingly harmless complaint in 2016; Jane felt she was being paid too low. In a public and open letter online, she claimed that, after spending 80 percent of her income on rent, she was unable to afford heating and groceries and was being consumed by her debt. The CEO of Yelp let her go from her position shortly after discovering the post.

Content posted online lives there forever and may find its way to college admissions boards and employers. If a post is considered offensive, insensitive, or unprofessional, it could result in denial or withdrawal of admissions or employment.