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4 Facebook Profile Tips from a College Admissions Officer

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4 Facebook Profile Tips from a College Admissons Officer As you begin to apply to colleges, you may start to notice subtle changes in your fellow classmates' Facebook profile: name alterations, disappearing photos, increased privacy settings, and even the occasional deactivation. While students tend to focus on the negative aspects of a Facebook profile during their application process, there are numerous positive elements that are easily overlooked.

During my senior year of high school, I started getting nervous about how my profile should look. What should I delete and what should I keep? Is there anything I should add to make myself look good?

I decided to seek advice on the matter. My rugby coach, a part-time university admissions officer, offered an interesting take on the issue. And while he did advise that I remove anything from my profile that would hinder my application, he told me about a few things that administration officers like to see when looking for a student's Facebook profile.

1. Don't change your name
"First and foremost," he said, "never change your name on Facebook. Most universities actually want to see students on social media." Admissions officers are looking for applicants who are social and active in their community. Make sure that admissions offices can find your profile easily.

2. Curate your photos
"Secondly, emphasize pictures that describe yourself, and get rid of any that are unfavorable." You will surely notice that your friends will be editing or removing pictures from their profiles that they now deem inappropriate. While this is always a good idea at any point in your life, you should also make an effort to upload pictures that demonstrate your versatility: albums of your sporting events, hobbies, volunteer work, and any other extracurriculars. Let your potential university know who you are and what your interests are. My coach's rule of thumb: "If you wouldn't want your parents to see it, then you wouldn't want any college administrators seeing it either!"

3. Update thoughtfully
"Thirdly," he said, "share what you have to say in an educated manner." As you begin to look over your profile to make appropriate changes, take a moment to create a status or two that display your engagement in education, politics, worldly affairs, and even humor (always keep it appropriate for everyone). Demonstrate an involvement in a larger social community with educated conversation starters.

4. Look approachable
"Finally," he advised, "too much privacy can sometimes be a bad thing." While the privacy settings that Facebook offer are generally beneficial in one way or another, you never want to seem as if you are hiding something. Rather, your profile should appear approachable and confident to anyone attempting to find you. "Facebook and other medial involvements should improve your chances of getting into college," he stated, "not deter them!"

Applying to colleges can be extremely difficult and stressful, and your application process should not be arrested by your involvement in social media. I took my coach's advice to heart and didn't have any problems applying to college. If anything, remember this: A resume can only demonstrate so much; your Facebook, if reviewed, should give an admissions employee a better idea of your identity, your personality, and your interests.

This post originally ran on June 25, 2013