Can Social Media Sabotage A Student’s Post-Secondary Success?

Social media

One selfie, one post, one tweet. That is all it really takes to lose the opportunity of a lifetime. Oh, how I wish Tanya knew about this before posting pictures of herself taking shots with a couple of friends after school. Losing a full-ride scholarship to the college of your dreams is no easy pill to swallow.

Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with teens who think they already know it all, trying to teach them this fundamental lesson can be just as hard as trying to spoon feed a toddler an unpleasant tasting medicine. When I speak to students on the topic of success and social media, I don’t hold anything back. Students leave my presentation understanding how severe the consequences can be for texting a nude photo to a “friend” that eventually goes viral. They develop an understanding of how colleges, recruiters and scholarship judges are visiting their social media sites before making a final decision. While many students like to hold onto the fact the their account is “private”, it doesn’t take much digging around to eventually find pictures that they were tagged in by their not so private friends and peers.

Some might say that it’s “not a big deal”, but colleges can be picky about who they choose to allow on their campus, especially when they have pictures and tweets of students doing things that are not in alignment with the college. According to the Harvard Crimson, at least 10 students who were accepted to Harvard University’s incoming Class of 2021 had their acceptances rescinded for sharing memes that were either sexually explicit or racially insensitive. Unfortunately, this trend is hitting student athletes even deeper in the pockets., shares how a student was suspended from his high school and lost his scholarship to the University of Michigan, all because of what he chose to post on twitter.


So how do we  improve a situation that seems to be gradually getting out of control?

Everyone needs to talk about it- Parents, teachers, coaches, and schools should be emphasizing the importance of keeping a student’s social media feed as clean as possible, especially if they aspire to go to a post secondary institution, the military, or join the workforce. Everyone is looking.

Start a campaign- Posters and morning announcements can be a great way to remind students of social media etiquette. Make it fun by giving your school a campaign name, e.g., “Think Again, Before You Send.”

Accountability?- Encourage students to hold each other accountable. Teach them the proper way to approach a friend, or peer if they see something that can be seen by others as negative or offensive.

There’s a hashtag for that?- Promote hashtags that speak the truth #thinkagainbeforeyousend #dontdothemostwiththatpost

Together, we can position our students for success using social media.

Rockell Bartoli is a professional speaker, author and student success coach. Would you like to have Rockell come to your school or organization and have your students engaged and thinking twice about their social media behaviors ? Click here for more information.