Social media footprints have drawn the attention of Harvard administrators and resulted in the withdrawal of at least 10 students from the academic programs of Harvard University.
A group of students formed a messaging group that attracted the Harvard administrators’ attention. They were posting memes that targeted minority groups. Moreover, they mocked sexual assault, the Holocaust and deaths of children.
As expected, due to the fact that presently, institutions tend to verify each student on the social media platforms in order to create a first impression, the Admissions office employees soon found out about their behavior and decided to email all of the involved students to ask them to disclose their involvement.
“The Admissions Committee was disappointed to learn that several students in a private group chat for the Class of 2021 were sending messages that contained offensive messages and graphics,” reads a copy of the admissions office’s email obtained by the Crimson. “As we understand you were among the members contributing such material to this chat, we are asking that you submit a statement by tomorrow at noon to explain your contributions and actions for discussion with the Admissions Committee.”
A week after the email was sent, somewhere close to 10 students received letters saying that their offers of admission were withdrawn.
Most of the people know that both universities and employees check people’s online presence. However, there are some who don’t take this into consideration, such as the students involved in the Facebook group mentioned above.
Roughly 35% of college admissions officers admitted that they check applicants’ social media profiles. As a result, 42% said that their findings negatively impacted their views on students.
These statistics raise questions such as “Are students not aware of this procedure?” due to the fact that they keep posting things that may be detrimental to their admission process.
Studies have found that even though both parents and teenagers are aware of the social media footprints, their conversations on the matter have been based on fear, and not instructive.
“So much of the last decade of social media education has been around scaring kids, ‘Don’t do this or you won’t get into college. All that really does is send them underground.” said Ana Homayoun, education consultant
Specialists mention that teens often go online and feel the need to have a secondary experience: they try different personalities, they have different viewpoints, they are more brave to share their opinions and test to see what response they get from their friends. They do not realize how detrimental it can be to their career and university life.