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24 Things You Can Do With Social Media to Help Get Into College

Put Your Best Self Forward Online

Every Facebook Page Can Use a Periodic Scrub!

Every Facebook Page Can Use a Periodic Scrub!

The tricky part of maintaining a Facebook presence is you really are not completely in control of what appears on your Facebook page.  You may be tagged in a picture or your name added to a status that you would not have chosen for yourself. But there it is, sitting there waiting for your discovery…and whoever else is looking. The uncertainty of what content might appear at any given time ought to concern anyone who is at all concerned about their reputations and how they represent online.

This is especially true for those of us who are in the middle of a school application process, or a job search. After you’ve gone through the trouble of purging all of your questionable pictures and posts, you really still can’t rest in peace. The Internet has a long memory and social media moves so fast that content can get buried deep enough to hide, but not so deep as to not be found.

But alas, now there is an app to address this very concern. FashWash is ABCNews.com’s “App of the Week” because, I suspect, it’s use can mean the difference between an accpectance letter and a rejection. Facebook has been around long enough for some of us to have grown up using the social media site. And so we can never really be sure that some of our former folly won’t catch up with us. Participating is a little Facebook clean-up with FaceWash might be right on time. The app is free and this is how it works: once you go to facewa.sh and sign-up (which, the developers claim, is easy to do at  ), all you do is press “Start.” The app will search through comments on your timeline and tags on your photos. It will also search through all of the links you have liked and status updates you have posted. When (well and if) the app finds potentially damaging (as in damaging to your reputation) text, it will provide a link to the post with the questionable word or words highlighted. It’s as simple as that.

The app search is currently text only. So the only way it can raise the red flag on questionable images is if there are comments or descriptions associated with the image that reflect potential inappropriateness.

I can’t think of anyone on Facebook who cannot benefit from a little periodic FaceWashing. And if you are at all involved in a process of assessment- school applications, job search, scholarship or internship competitions, etc., you ought to put this app on your  list of to dos!

For more information, go HERE.

A recent survey confirms what we already knew– that growing numbers of scholarship providers use the web and social media to evaluate applicants. Fastweb, the scholarhsip search site, and the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) conducted a survey of the NSPA members to get a grasp on how much scholarship providers utilize the Internet in the application process. The surveyors found that among NSPA’s 300 plus members, who represent a collective 1 billion dollars of scholarhsip awards yearly:

1/4 said they use Internet destinations, such as Google, Facebook,  LinkedIn, You Tube  and Twitter, to evaluate students.

Most of the survey respondents looked only at the online presence of finalists, due to imitations of resources and time.

3/4 of those surveyed said they were looking for “red flags,” with the primary concern being whether the applicant might reflect badly on the scholarship sponsor. They looked for signs of good judgment; provocative or inappropriate photos or remarks; illegal activity such as underage drinking or illegal drug use; and insensitive or discriminatory remarks. They even looked for signs of a “bad attitude.”

Over 1/2 of the scholarship givers said they looked online to get to know the applicant better– to look for creativity or other positive personality traits, or to evaluate real life communication skills.

1/4 of the respondants said they went online to resolve conflicting information, such as untruths about stated qualifications.

1/3 said they have denied admissions based what they’ve found online.

These finding are important for applicants to consider while they invest time and effort to put their best selves forward in their applications. Now scholarship contests require more than just sending in a prinstine application. Once you’ve perfected your application, you must then go online and clean up your online spaces.

Is your information consistent with the info on your app?

Do you have photos, content (statuses and comments) that reflect badly on your judgment and character?

Have you loaded up your social media with all of your accomplishments and interests?

Does your online presence reflect the real you? Your BEST you?

These are now important questions to answer. And then to fix!

If you want to work on your online presence, I’ve three options for you:

Tune in tonight– to the Series “So You Want to Go to College- Netiquette: How to Win Friends and Influence People Online” — Houston channel HMS (Comcast 17, Att Uverse 99, TV Max 95)

Go HERE for “Do You Love the ‘You’ You Find Online?

Or become the expert at putting you best foot forward online. BUY the book  24 Things You Can Do With Social Media to Help Get Into College-– Go HERE

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Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) leads the college admissions industry with its innovative social media platform.  The university has just launched Bridge, a “dynamic social media community through a partnership with 7Summits. The new online community brings together admissions counselors, prospective students and parents, allowing them to interact and learn.

Lots of colleges have incorporated interactive components into their websites and have steadily increased their social media presence. But this Bridge platform is unique in that students can create accounts and friend each other and admissions counselors, allowing interaction and access to admissions personnel in a much broader ways.

Is this the future of college admissions? We already know that colleges are interested in meeting students where they are, and this is overwhelmingly on social media. MSOE’s Bridge drew 1500 new prospective students in the first month. They’ve stepped up the college admissions game and it’s likely more colleges will follow. Check-out the Bridge platform HERE.

Read more about Bridge at sfgate.com.

 

Connect with colleges in real-time at a virtual college fair

CollegeWeekLive boasts the biggest virtual college EVER –scheduled next week, November 2nd and 3rd. The virtual college fair is an extremely efficient way to explore colleges’offerings and connect with colleges that interest you. Colleges and universities are most interested in finding stellar students, yes. But they are also extremely invested in connecting with the students that are sincerely interested in going to their school. In other words, colleges want to spend their recruiting time on students who, if admitted, are likely to come.

So connecting with schools to express your interest is an important part of the college admissions process. The online virtual college fair is a great way to do this. And CollegeWeekLive offers one of the best, most comprehensive fairs on the Internet.

The event will include:

  • Keynote speakers who will discuss such topics as admissions, financial aid, how to improve SAT and ACT scores, and how to be successful in college.
  • Student chats in real-time with college students and personnel to answer questions
  • School videos

And best of all—

  • Over 300 colleges and universities in live online booths available to connect with you. Access to 300 schools in one place is a big deal!

You’ll save research time and travel costs. You’ll gets steps ahead in your college research.

You can see schedules and register  HERE!

For stress maintenance, relationships matter!

College freshmen are, according to studies, more stressed out than ever before. The present state of the economy and the competitiveness for dollars and class spots makes for plenty to worry about. When you add these realities to the traditional demands of college life—being away from home; getting accustomed to academic expectations and; having to self- discipline and self-organize—college freshmen have more to contend with these days, plain and simple.

And how to help the college rookie better handle the rigors of their new environment is challenging. One important way to assist stressed-out students is to help them understand to importance of managing their relationships. If you think about it, at the core of every conflict or stressor is a relationship. At the same time, some of the most fundamental ways of getting support and encouragement is through these same relationships–

  1. A romantic partner
  2. A Roommate
  3. A professor or TA
  4. A Financial Aid Counselor
  5. A Coach
  6. A boss
  7. A parent

There are lots of ways students can get their minds off of  troubles and reduce their stress levels short term—music, exercise, journaling, meditation. But when it comes to long-term happiness and stress maintenance, how they govern your relationships is one of the most important skills you can acquire. Here are five ways they can improve their relationships and reduce their stress immediately and in the future: (Share these with your favorite college student BEFORE they need it…)

1. Focus on Your Communication: When you interact with others—your girlfriend, boyfriend, your professor or your boss– how much and how well you communicate is key. Don’t leave your interactions to chance.

2. Agree to a Communication Plan. Set -up planned times to communicate with key people in your life—your roommate, your study partner, your adviser. With your roommate, you might agree to check in with each other every day before the first of you leaves for class each day or before dinner. This way you can sort out your issues (“I’d like to have my study group meet here tonight.” “Perfect, I plan to study in the library.”) The same is true for your professors. Connect one-on-one with them so that they know you are diligent and you can get a better understanding of material. With a boyfriend/girlfriend, agree to the times you will spend together and set times to study. Be deliberate about what you will share and what you will do alone or with others. You will soon learn that there is only so much time in a day. Communicate about how you will and will not use your time. Also, set a time to connect with your parents. If conversations with them are comforting, arrange a set time and day to regularly talk for a meaningful period of time. If conversations with your parents are stress-inducing, schedule short check-in talks on the weekend maybe, when they won’t add to your daily tension.

3. LISTEN to what others are saying about their expectations.

Your roommate expects you to leave when her boyfriend comes over.

Your sorority or fraternity expects your involvement in their every endeavor

Your adviser expects a weekly check-in.

Your study partner expects you to do half of the practice set every week.

Don’t wait until you are locked out of your room; in a bind or confused about something with a looming due date to get clarification. The same is true of your coach, adviser and friends. When you are given a clear statement about what someone expects from you—performance-wise, or friendship-wise, don’t ignore it. Listen, clarify and if your expectations do not jive with theirs, come to some understanding. Don’t expect these things to sort out by themselves or just go away.

4. CLEARLY STATE Your Expectations–Conversely, you should express your own expectations clearly and consistently (i.e. tell your roommate how you feel about sharing clothes before the issue comes up…and it will come up). Letting others know your boundaries and expectations is a vital skill for college survival. Suffering in silence is the most stressful state of all!

5. CHOOSE YOUR COMPANY CAREFULLY. Don’t just be a passive participant in the formation of your social circles. Choose and don’t settle for just being chosen. College is a time to begin to think of your time as a commodity—Time is Money! How you spend your time is vital. And just as important is with whom you spend it. Be strategic. Choose your study partners and groups with an eye toward people who share your same goals and values. A study group benefits from a diverse group of people who may approach the material differently. But everybody in that group should be endeavoring to produce high quality work and get good grades. These are values you should all share. Don’t tolerate dead weight and don’t BE dead weight. The same is true for your social circle. You should have some core values in common with the folks you spend your leisure time with. If you are always the designated driver or the “throne attendant” for your drunk friends, you may want to rethink your alliances.

When you govern your relationships with deliberate planning and communications, you go a long way in avoiding stressful situations, both short and long term, and you set-up your relationships to be positive stress buffers instead of stress-inducers. Look closely at your relationships—from the minor ones, like with the dorm entrance attendant, to the major ones, like your roommate and professors—with an acknowledgement that they hold little keys to your happiness and comfort. This will help you prioritize them and focus on developing healthy interactions. The practice of relationship management will serve you well your entire life, and not just far into your future, but right this very minute.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure and the delight to study 2011 college commencement speeches for this article on Blogher.com. The effort was great fun and utterly inspirational. I was motivated to watch, listen to and read other commencement speeches pre-dating 2011 because I, myself, was invited to speak to my daughter’s graduating high school class. I wanted to see how the famous folks did it. And this is how I came across Steve Jobs and his historic 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. It is a must-see! A MUST-SEE!

Now that this great man is gone, the speech is that much more poignant and unforgettable!

So without further ado….here it is!

 

Is This iDuo Necessary for College?

I have two kids starting college this year and we are trying to sort out which electronic devices are necessary for their schooling and which are luxuries.  I want them to have what they need to be successful, but I’d also like to be smart with my money. Plus, I don’t want to load them up with gadgets that they will not likely use and will take up their precious little dorm space.

The folks at Retrevo.com offer a Back-to-School Tech Guide http://bit.ly/naBtau that I am finding mighty helpful. Below are some highlights from the Guide ( I have heeded more than one of these suggestions already  and saved some money). But if you need a full pro-and -con discussion about what electronics your student needs, check out the entire guide!

See the entire guide here: http://bit.ly/naBtau

Highlights from Retrevo’s 2011 Back To School Guide:

– Most Students Don’t Need a Smartphone! – While smartphones are nice to have, budget-savvy students can get by just fine with a good laptop and a regular feature phone. If you really need apps, try an 8GB iPod Touch for just $299 and no monthly fees. We’re not saying that students will love this option, but you can save a lot of money if you’re not paying for a monthly data plan.

– Don’t Get a TV! – Today’s college students don’t need a dedicated TV, they need a multi-tasker. Get a large computer monitor with either DVI or S-Video and HDMI ports that can give them more workspace on their laptop and plug-into their Blu-ray player, gaming console, or other media device.

– Save Money With an E-Reader –  Once you get past the initial expense of an e-reader, your student will be able to buy books at a cheaper price than they’ll find on the shelves. Amazon recently announced they’ll be renting textbooks as well; another money-saving reason to get an e-reader.

– You Don’t Need a MacBook Air! – Retrevo’s compiled a list below, of laptops that are more budget-friendly.

– Minimum Laptop Requirements – Retrevo recommends something with a webcam, 6hrs+ battery life, 250GB minimum of storage, a weight of less than 5lbs and a Dual Core i3 or i5.

College Admissions Spying on Social Media? Seems So!

In preparation for writing 24 Things you Can Do With Social Media to Help Get into College, I spoke to hundreds of admissions officers about how they were using social media in their admissions processes. Many of them informed me that they were looking at the Facebook and MySpace pages of their applicants, and that what they saw was influencing their admissions decisions. At that time, (two years ago) very few of them wanted to go on record about their social media snooping. But one admissions officer did confess that he will on occasion have the applicant’s Facebook page on his computer while reviewing an application. Several acknowledged that though they do not customarily look up candidates online, when they do, what they find has an impact on their assessment.

Many admissions officers said that their offices do not have the time nor the manpower to look up every candidate and read their social media information, but some agree that a quick Google or Facebook search really doesn’t take that long.  Now, a recent Kaplan Survey has disclosed that the trend of looking online is becoming more accepted. According to the survey, 80% of college admissions officers have come out of the closet about their willingness to look at, and be influenced by, applicants’ social media.

The fact that colleges have whole-heartedly embraced social media is not that new.  And this ever-evolving reality is not all bad news. The fact is– social media is, and is only more increasingly, becoming an important tool in an applicant’s college admissions arsenal. When you break down the Kaplan study, as Schools.com has so helpfully done, there are some important positive insights to be gleaned. In the survey, 62% of college admissions respondents said that the social media profiles they reviewed actually helped the candidate. So they had a positive impact. Seventy percent of schools say that Facebook profiles of candidates are a medium to high priority in the admissions process.  Eighty-two percent of colleges say they use Facebook.  Fifty-six percent are on Twitter and 56% are on YouTube. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are watching you on these sites, as much as it means they have their own presence there.

Most colleges have at least one Facebook Group or Like page to share with their community and to highlight the school’s activities and accomplishments. Some have several pages. Princeton has 14, for example. These pages represent different departments  and programs of the school and are great ways to see what is happening on campus and to connect. Similarly, a large number of schools have their own channels on YouTube. If you check out YouTubeEDU, you will be amazed at the wide variety of video available on college channels– admissions advice, lectures, student projects, commencement ceremonies– the whole gamut. And colleges are very active on Twitter!  The college-related tweets on Twitter are so numerous, it truly boggles the mind!

As much as I am an advocate for showcasing your best self online, the truth is that spying on candidates is not the primary reason colleges have embraced social media. They want to find the best and the brightest students by meeting them when they are…and the research is clear– students are on Facebook! It’s important, then, to be aware that schools are online and participating in social media. But the degree to which they are using Facebook profiles to make admissions decisions should not be too overblown.

Several admissions officers that I interviewed expressed some concern about how students (and their parents) will react to this increasing practice of looking up candidates online.  The last thing admissions decision-makers want is for students to  begin to create artificial social media spaces solely for purposes of college admissions. This would be unfortunate. No one, including college admissions personnel, wants to see a scrubbed down, uninteresting blog site or social media profile that reflects little about who the candidate really is.

So what is a student to do? How should college applicants respond to the very clear message that what they do and say online may now have an impact?  The best way to capitalize on this new reality, instead of shutting down or white-washing your site, is to make it work for you!  Use you social media to showcase your interests, strengths and attributes. And make sure you leave on your pages what makes you interesting and unique.

One thing to do for sure– it’s a good idea to take the pictures of you drinking with a beer in both hands off your Facebook profile and reduce the 1000 pictures of yourself at parties…. But more about this later…

For a more expanded discussion, go to College Admissions on Facebook: Not All Bad News on  Blogher.com.

New Like Button is Share in Disguise

Facebook, ever tweaking their features, has decided to give the ‘Share’ button functionality to the ‘Like’ Button. This means that instead of just giving the thumbs-up to a status and/or link, now when you click ‘Like’  the entire link will appear on your page– full story, headline, thumbnail and all. This is a much greater commitment than the old way to ‘like’ something.

If you use lots of links to your posts to get traffic to your other online destinations– blog, network, videos– this is good news. The change will probably result in more visitors, perhaps a bigger audience. But this likely also means that Facebook folk will be more discriminating about who and what they ‘like’, and rightly so.

Go to Inside Facebook for the whole scoop!

The research is clear that students can greatly improve their SAT scores by studying the SAT and getting instruction before they take it.  And there is a whole cottage industry of companies that offer SAT preparation help—courses, books, tutoring and online assistance. But many of these services can be quite costly and if you are not careful in your planning and research, your SAT preparation could turn out to be quite a large investment.

Review of SAT prep books-Click HERE.

Review of SAT prep courses- Click HERE.

The best news of all is you should not let the prohibitive cost of some of these courses and materials stop you from getting meaningful SAT preparation. You have options.  Los Angeles area students are fortunate to have an excellent resource and a wonderful SAT preparation option in the FREE SAT Prep Workshop offered by the dedicated folks at Each One Teach One  Alliance for Academic Access, Achievement and Success. This organization’s mission is to

work with inner-city youth through a number of community collaborations, to improve their academic performance in mathematics, science and technology, in order to insure higher levels of Access, Achievement and Success in the most prestigious colleges and universities throughout our country.

And one of the stellar programs they offer in furtherance of this mission is their Free SAT Prep Workshop. This workshop offers professional tutoring for students who “aspire to meet the competitive challenges of the 21st Century and beyond.”

So if you are a student in the L.A. area and are in need of SAT prep help, click HERE for details.

If you are interested in helping Each One Teach One meet their mission for the inner city students of Southern California, you can make a donation HERE .

You can also find  Free Sat Prep Workshop on Facebook, HERE.

And Each One Teach One’s Facebook page is HERE.

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