Social media holds more weight in law school applications than one might think.
A survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that 56% of law school admission officers surveyed last fall said they looked at applicants’ social media pages when evaluating them for admissions. Nearly 65% added that they found negative aspects of the social media pages that hurt applicants’ chances of acceptance.
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News and consultant at Stratus Admissions Consulting, recently discussed how applicants can better use social media and avoid hurting their chances of acceptance.
“Prospective law school applicants might think that admissions officers have neither the time nor the will to comb through the multiple social media accounts used by each applicant, but they would be wrong,” Waldman writes.
The first step to cleaning up your social media, Waldman says, is to do a quick Google search of yourself.
“This is likely the first thing a law school admissions officer does when evaluating an application,” Waldman writes. “Even if you’re lucky to have a common name like John Smith and the results won’t reveal you immediately, don’t just assume that the officer will stop there.”
Knowing what your image is like online can give you a chance to explain things if need be.
“So see what you can find out by doing that yourself, and don’t forget to conduct image searches as well,” Waldman writes. “If it’s ‘John Smith wins award for helping old ladies cross the street’ – great! If it’s something more questionable, you might want to add an addendum discussing and explaining the event.”
It can be helpful to start making your social media accounts private prior to applying to law schools.
“Keep things as private as possible, and if you think there’s any chance that you’ve ever posted anything that might make a school see you in a negative light, deactivate your accounts for the duration of the application process,” Waldman writes.
Doing so can also help tighten up loose ends, especially for accounts you might not use anymore.
“Moreover, remember that the things you post on social media might stay there long after you’ve stopped using the platform,” Waldman writes. “Do you really remember what you put on your Myspace page 15 years ago? Yes, Myspace still exists, as does everything you’ve put there; make sure you cover everything when you run your privacy check.”
HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR BENEFIT
While there can be a lot of negative that comes out of social media, it can be a tool used to your advantage, Waldman says.
For one, applicants can find lots of relevant content via social media that they can use to bolster their application.
“You can easily mention an article, or the writer, in one of your law school application essays, thus showing that you’ve done some substantive research, or discuss one of the student organizations often featured on those pages, explaining why it is of specific interest to you,” Waldman writes.
Additionally, social media platforms can be a great way to connect with others in your field.
“People who are going through the same things as you – whether it’s applying to law school, moving to a new city or fighting the uphill 1L study battle – make for a great resource for exchanging information, giving advice, finding roommates and hopefully even making friends,” Waldman writes.
Sources: US News, Kaplan Test Prep