Guest Column

01 Feb 2017
parents

Using Social Media as a College Application Tool

 

by Liz Repking, Founder of Cyber Safety Consulting (cybersafetyconsulting.com)

thumb_Liz-ReplingIf you have sent a child off to high school, you understand that bittersweet feeling of being proud of this child nearing young adult independence, while realizing that same child will be flying the nest in four incredibly short years. And boy, do those four years go quickly!

There are so many things that we as parents are warning our kids about throughout their high school years, especially around the topics of technology and social media. We tell them over and over that one inappropriate comment or picture could greatly alter their future hopes and dreams. We tell them stories of pictures that went viral, or comments that pushed another child past the brink. We share the fact that college admissions offices are looking at applicants’ online accounts, and that college coaches are requesting to follow or ‘friend’ recruits’ social media accounts. Everyone wants a peek at the ‘real you’ and not just the test scores. They are asking, ‘Are you who you said you are?’ and the answer can be found through a student’s social media presence. While kids need to hear these messages repeatedly, we all get tired of being the Debbie Downer about their social media activity.

But are colleges, coaches and even employers only looking for a reason to eliminate a student from the process? Not necessarily. The positive message and conversation that we can have with our children is that social media can and should be used in a positive way to differentiate themselves from the masses. College admissions offices, coaches, and employers are looking to social media to find reasons to select one student over another and not as a way to eliminate. Tools such as LinkedIn are platforms where high school students can differentiate themselves from the thousands of other highly talented and qualified applicants.

Alan Katzman, of Social Assurity (socialassurity.com), is focused on helping high school students create an advantage over the competition through social media. In a 2-minute video segment from an ABC news affiliate, http://abc30.com/1675581, Katzman describes how and why students should use social media, thus improving the quality of their candidacy. Take a minute to watch this and if you have a high school student, watch it together! The best news is that this a great way to talk about the positive ways to utilize social media.

Liz Repking, mother of three, entered the workforce over 20 years ago, spending the majority of her career as a consultant, developing and delivering a variety of training courses for clients. As Liz became acutely aware of the dangers the Internet posed to children, she was led to create Cyber Safety Consulting, with the goal to educate parents, children and schools on the dangers of the Internet, and to offer tangible solutions to counter them.

As Founder of Cyber Safety Consulting, Liz’s technology and training experience is perfectly paired with her passion for the online safety of our children. She believes that every parent has the ability to understand the technology and social networking sites that our children frequent. Her mission is to educate parents and thereby increase their comfort and confidence in keeping their children safe online.

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