Beware: One Social Media Post Can Do You In

I came across this article from Inside Higher Ed the other day: colleges reverse admissions offers and I thought it lent itself to a comprehensive blog post for our Campus Bound audience. As the world feels polarized on several intense political issues, its important to recognize that how students use social media can impact their college admissions process.

Racial Tensions

It’s hot in the kitchen right now, and people have very differing views on the issue of race in our country. It makes sense that students would want to use their social media platforms to speak their minds. But it’s also important to note, as the article points out, that colleges have revoked the admission of students for posting things that they deemed offensive or racist.

The College of Charleston posted on Facebook this month, “On Monday, we became aware of a racist social media post linked to an individual who had previously been accepted for the fall 2020 semester. Following an investigation, the college’s admissions office made the decision on Tuesday to rescind the admission of this individual … The college holds close our institution’s values related to respect, diversity, equity and inclusion. We condemn racism and bigotry in any form and will not tolerate such behavior by any member of our community.” (from Inside Higher Ed article)


Additionally, in 2017, several students who had been admitted to Harvard had their admissions decisions rescinded after they created an online group that contained jokes about abusing children, Holocaust survivors, and other offensive material.

I’m not sure any election in our history has received the scrutiny and coverage as this impending one will in the fall. Politics have our country very divided. Students should think very carefully before posting anything polarizing or potentially offensive.

Free Speech

There is a lot of discussion about how this all plays into the first amendment, and it’s a good question. In America, people do have the right to free speech. However, colleges also have the right to admit or deny students based on their institutional philosophies. You can say what you want according to free speech, but colleges also can take action based on that speech. At least that’s how things stand now. Due to the high tensions in the country right now, several students have had their admission rescinded in recent months, and it will be interesting to see if the second amendment plays a role in any reversals.

Bottom Line

At Campus Bound, we always instruct our students to proceed with caution when it comes to social media. I even check my students’ personal email addresses, and encourage “partyanimal69” to change it or use a different one for admissions. Students, please use discretion this year, and always, when using social media. Nothing is private that is posted on the internet. And colleges do sometimes check.

Better safe than sorry, and if you’re confused about whether or not to post something, feel free to check with your Campus Bound counselor. We are here to help and process these uncertain and complex times with you.

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