Think before you post

Imagine receiving an acceptance letter to Harvard, one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. All of your hard work, the hours of studying for the SAT and the stress of AP or IB tests have finally paid off. But, after exchanging messages with other students on a private chat, your acceptance is rescinded and everything that you worked towards crumbles to the ground. Unfortunately, this can happen and has happened to students in the past. This year, ten students who had been accepted into Harvard had their acceptances rescinded based on private posts in a Facebook chat.

Colleges can observe our social media anytime. They can see everything that we put out into the world: tweets, posts and even internet searches. For many of us, we do not think much about the things that we post, the tweets that we like or the accounts that we follow. When we scroll through our phones, we are not thinking about the consequences of liking a post or commenting something on an account. But we should be.

Everything that we do is tracked. Every time we visit a website or log onto Instagram or Facebook, it is recorded and can be looked back at in the future. Right now, that may not seem like a big deal. Posting that racy picture will get us likes. Retweeting an insensitive tweet will get you followers. It might be worth it now, but will it be in the future when it interferes with your ability to get jobs or further your education?

When a student applies to a college, all their social media activity is reviewed by people who are specifically hired to observe social media activity. This does not just include what you posted; it includes things that people have tagged you in. If your friend posted a picture of a red solo cup and tagged you in it, colleges could see it. When they consider you for admissions, they also consider your media history because they are not just admitting you for your grades– they are admitting you for who you are as an individual.

Companies are able to look at our pasts and determine if they will hire us once we graduate from college, too. If you posted something offensive or inappropriate during college or high school, the company could choose not to hire you because their employees are the face of their company and they do not want that face to be blemished in any way.

It’s hard to think about how a post or tweet could influence our futures, but they do, and we need to be aware of it. We need to be conscious of what we post and look up on social media– our futures could depend on it.

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