College LifeTrends

Social networking sites and the International Student

A modern-day guide for students looking to study abroad in a technologically savvy world

As our society changes, so do our etiquette graces.

We have to keep our rules of etiquette, especially in this day and age, if you want to preserve your integrity and dignity. It’s much harder to do today than it was when we could only really communicate long distance through written letters. That was a LONG time ago.

The principles of etiquette encompass most aspects of social interaction in any particular society, therefore; they will always exist and they will vary from culture to culture. It is a social code that if you don’t follow, you may risk preserving your integrity. And although etiquette could depend on the culture, one thing you have to consider is that things on Social Media Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are universal.

Furthermore, if you are a student looking to study abroad and are in the process of being admitted into a school, more than likely, your admissions officer is searching you via the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You have to consider that these resources are at the admissions officer’s fingertips. In fact, in a study conducted by Michigan State University, it found that nearly 90 percent of most Colleges and Secondary institutions feel that their Social Media presence is extremely important. It makes sense because Social media networks like Facebook offer an extraordinary opportunity to reach so many students in one place and college admissions officials will increasingly continue to use it and other networking sites.

In our International Division at CBT Technology Institute in Miami, FL we use Facebook everyday to communicate with future students, and current students. In fact, I encourage it! It is certainly faster and easier, and sometimes more cost effective. You can also learn a lot about the student and their needs when you’re able to research through their Social Media venues.

More and more college admissions offices are using social networking sites to learn more about applicants. As Education Week reported in a 2011 survey, admissions officers do view publicly available pages to get a better idea of an applicant. According to that same survey, they found images of underage drinking and improper language that could impact the admissions officer and negatively affect the chances of the student’s admission into the school. Education Week:

And although there are no official regulations that determine to what extent social networking pages should be measured in the admissions process, you have to think that anything that makes it on the Internet is permanent and public domain (and we are talking about the global public not just local). Seriously something to consider and perhaps not just for admissions! You must think that your online presence could be damaging or can boast your image.

With that said, below you will find some tips on what you should and shouldn’t do on Facebook, and other Social Networking sites; some tips may appear to be, obvious, funny, and some shocking. But it will include things you should certainly know as this world evolves into a global melting pot.

If you are actively involved in the Community, post the Community events and pictures related to those events. This shows that you are a good active citizen in the Community and will do the same in any other institution

  • Post accomplishments and accolades
  • List all the organizations you are a part of
  • Do not post official personal documents like a passport, or transcript from another school, etc.
  • Whatever you don’t want to share with everyone on Facebook, do not post. Sometimes it is just TMI
  • Make your Facebook page positive and as pleasant as possible.
  • Post a portfolio of things that you’ve done. For example, if you’re interested in Graphic Design and you’ve done your own designs, you may want to share your work.
  • Try to refrain from Social and political views as well as religious.
  • Do not post any racial remarks that may offend any particular group
  • Do NOT, post nude images of yourself or others
  • Do NOT use Profanity
  • And do not post suggestive sexual content on your Facebook

Ultimately be smart, be mindful of whatever information you make public, because everything on the Internet is public for the world to see… forever…and your future is what you have to think about now!

This article is courtesy of Veronica Villegas, a seasoned PR professional and the Director of the International Student Division at The College of Business & Technology (CBT Technology Institute) located in Miami, Florida.

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