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Teens: College Admissions Officers Are Watching You Online

Jenn is perhaps best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Breed ‘Em and Weep (2005-2012). She’s written for many magazines, newspapers and websites, including Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama, and The Boston Globe. Jenn’...

Social media activity can help kid's chances to get into college as well as hurt, depending

Oh, you crazy teens. Sure, you think the barfing-rainbows Snapchat filter is just adorable. But what does Yale think of your weird-ass social media activity?

Because it turns out that college admissions officers are watching, teens. So that pic your friend took of you pounding a beer on top of the roof of your high school or the one of you smoking weed in the driver's seat of your grandma's convertible? Yeah. We're no angels here either, but you might want to rethink some of your social media choices. (And while you're at it, may we humbly suggest taking a close look at your life choices.) Because hey, slacker, the world belongs to those who make good choices. Yes, we're old and boring, but sometimes, we have good advice. Like: Don't sour your college chances by posting a shot of your bestie holding your hair while you yak up your guts into a toilet.

More: Life skills all kids should know before heading off to college

Anyway, you're being watched by the college powers that be. That's the bad news. Want some good news?

They might like you anyway. Thirty-five percent of 365 college admissions officers who took part in a survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep admitted that they do check social media during the admissions process. Interestingly? A larger bunch of the survey sample said that their peeks into a student's social media accounts actually helped the student, with 47 percent of the admissions officers saying the barfing rainbows filter (or, you know, pictures of the student working for Habitat for Humanity) had a positive impact.

One example is a student who spoke passionately about LGBTQ rights on Twitter — something she hadn't mentioned in her college application. Yariv Alpher, executive director of research for Kaplan Test Prep, said, "There are a lot of positives here. It shows diversity, it shows initiative, it shows leadership, and it stood out positively to an admissions officer."

So if you're a college-hunting teen, maybe scale back on the Snapchat filters and post more Instagram shots of you rescuing kittens and elderly stroke victims and stuff. That seems to be the takeaway here.

More: Meh, I don't care if my kids go to college

Oh, also? College admissions officers want you to know that it's not the grooviest idea to tour a campus, then take to Twitter to rant about the crappy food or ugly library or boring tour guide. Common sense, people, common sense. When in doubt, delete. You'll thank us later from your corner office or your yacht — trust us.

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