As a student, social media can be your best friend or your
worst enemy. It can be an excellent way to connect with likeminded people and
to network. It can also be your downfall if what people primarily see when they
look at your social
media accounts is not consistent with the image a potential future employer
or graduate department is looking for. Having a social media presence is a good
idea but only if you use it wisely.
Clean Up Old Profiles
If you’re like most people your age, you have social media
profiles going back to your early teens. It’s probably time to delete some of
them. In fact, unless you are specifically building your career on one or more
platforms, it’s not a bad idea to nuke your profiles every few years and start
fresh. This doesn’t just ensure that your past is less likely to come back to
haunt you but also helps you clear out all those random people you met in class
or on spring break that you haven’t spoken to since. In the meantime, keep in
mind that privacy settings exist for a reason. While you shouldn’t post things
online you would worry about strangers, parents or future employers seeing
anyway, it’s still a good idea to lock down your accounts as much as you can.
Finding Scholarships and Loans
While you’re using databases and search engines to find
scholarships and private student loans online, you might not have considered
checking social media. However, this can be a great way to connect with
communities of other students who can point you in the direction of
scholarships and loans. You can also read reviews and find out if the
organizations and lenders you’re considering have a social media presence. This
can help you find some otherwise obscure scholarships as well as private
lenders who have satisfied clients. This can be especially helpful if you are
looking for online
student loan lenders instead of going to your local bank, where you can
talk to someone face-to-face.
Connect with Professionals
Are you considering becoming a doctor, a biologist or a
writer? Whatever your ambitions, you can find professionals on social media who
write about their work and even answer questions. This can be a great way to
learn more about the fields that interest you. Be sure that you are respectful
of the time of professionals who offer this free insight into their work.
Trust but Verify
There’s an old joke that says on the internet, nobody knows
you’re a dog, and it’s funny because it is at least somewhat true. For various
reasons, some people will go to elaborate lengths to construct an internet
alter ego. Other people are just very different in real life from their online
persona. This means that while social media can be great
for networking, you should be cautious about confiding in or accepting job
offers from people you haven’t met in the flesh. If your social media contact
is someone that no one online appears to have met in real life—or who only one
person claims to have met—healthy skepticism may be the right attitude.
This content was originally published here.