How Social Media Affects College Admissions

Years ago, personal essays, interviews, and grades mattered most in college admissions. Today, however, there is another factor that plays a role in your chances of getting into college: your social media profiles.

Social media can affect college admissions in both positive and negative ways. Oftentimes, students post items that they don’t realize might be controversial. But in a time when admissions counselors may check out your social media identity, it’s vital to exercise smart thinking when posting online.

Now that you know admissions counselors are looking at your online profiles, how exactly does social media influence your chances of getting into college? Read on to find out which of your social media posts may affect your college admissions.

[RELATED: What College Students Should Know About Social Media]

Social media posts that can bolster your college admissions chances

Community participation

Social media posts that convey your commitment to building a positive community within your high school or neighborhood can create a great impression, as admissions counselors hope to see that you will be a meaningful part of their campus communities. Examples can include:

  • Instagram photographs of you working to create a club or program that opens space for communication or artistic expression.

  • Twitter posts to increase participation in your group.

Academic or extracurricular awards  

Pictures or a description of an award you received but didn’t mention in your application may positively affect your impression on admissions counselors. Even if you did mention these awards in your application, posts on social media that reference them can reinforce your dedication to your education.

Unique accomplishments

Have you founded your own business or completed a large research project? Social media posts about your unique accomplishments will likely help—not hurt—your chances of college admission.

[RELATED: 3 Questions to Ask Your Guidance Counselor About College]

Social media posts that can harm your college admissions chances


Racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination can greatly harm your college admissions chances. They suggest that you are capable of intolerance—something that is unwelcome on college campuses.

Illegal activity

Many college applications include a section that asks about previous arrests or criminal activity. If you lie about your history of illegal activity, the college or university may rescind your application. In recent years, it has become more common for people with criminal histories to share their stories on social media in order to dissuade others from illegal activity. While this can be a form of healing, admissions counselors may view it unfavorably if you fail to disclose this past on your application. In addition, posting photographs with alcohol or drugs will reflect very poorly on you.


Posting pictures or videos with weapons, violent language, or threats is a massive red flag to admissions counselors. Remember that college campuses are meant to be places of peace and inclusion.

[RELATED: What to Do After You’ve Submitted Your College Applications]

The bottom line on social media and college admissions

Not all admissions counselors scan students’ social media pages as part of the application process. However, with an immense number of college applicants using social media, some admissions counselors do turn to it for additional information when vetting applications. Take note of the above tips to ensure your social media posts help your chances of getting into college.

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at