10 Tips to Help College Applicants Establish Their Social Media Presence 

 10 Tips to Help College Applicants Establish Their Social Media Presence 

#1 Know the 3 Tenets of Social Media

You are never anonymous. Your posts will never disappear. Anyone in the world with an interest in finding everything you’ve ever posted can. These rules apply to all social media activities including Snapchat, Finsta, and social media accounts believed to be private or hidden by any alias.

#2 “Nothing to Hide” Is Not the Same as “Something to Show”

“I know colleges will be looking, so I’ve never posted anything that can embarrass me.” We hear this from students all the time and always ask whether they’re certain about this (see tip #1) and then remind them an empty or neutral digital presence will not help their college admissions chances. If colleges will be looking, then give them something to see.

#3 Create Content for Your Intended Audiences

Personal and college-oriented social media activities do not mix. The content students should be sharing with colleges is very different than the content they are willing to share with their friends and peers. Different audiences demand different content.

#4 Create New Social Media Profiles Specifically for College

Social media is fun, so students need not worry about compromising their online activities with friends (but remember Tip #1). It is liberating for students to separate their social media activities with friends from the content colleges will want to see (see Tip #3). Think about using less popular teen platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to build your college facing digital presence.

#5 Anchor the Social Media Accounts for College with the Email Address Used for College Applications

Creating a Gmail account using a recognizable form of your name in this email prefix should also become your college social media username (firstnamelastname@gmail.com = @firstnamelastname). This technique will lead colleges to discover the social media content students want them to see. This will help students increase their start “likelihood to enroll“ score by leveraging the algorithms measuring their digital activities (see Tip #8).

#6 Build a Digital Portfolio Designed to Showcase Your Strengths

This is the opportunity to take control of your digital narrative. Social media is a great place to showcase your character attributes—leadership, volunteer service, commitment to an activity, teamwork, resiliency. Students can also use social media to build portfolios showing colleges the depth of their interest in their intended course of study— graphic design, art history, architecture, fashion.

#7 Register on College Websites

Once your college list is assembled, visit the admissions webpage and find the “request more info“ link. Some websites hide the link behind other links so keep looking. Register with the email you created in Tip #5. This enables instrument management algorithms to track your digital engagement with that college’s digital content. This measurable digital engagement will increase a student’s likelihood to enroll score.

#8 Follow Student Social Media Ambassadors, Read Student Blogs, Follow Colleges and College Departments on Social Media

Use your college-specific social media accounts to actively engage with the college’s digital community. Follow colleges from your LinkedIn account. Most colleges are very active on Twitter. Follow the main college account. Follow specific schools within the college. Follow professors who teach at those schools. Build a community. Show your interest.

#9 Only Follow, Comment, and Mention Colleges From Social Media Profiles Created or Curated For College

Students would not go to a college interview straight from the gym without first showering and changing the clothes. The same principle applies to social media. Students need to know that colleges see every mention of their name. Social media listening technology is in wide use. Posts such as “I got accepted to X college but will go to Y college if accepted there” Will be seen by both X and Y college.

#10 Invite Colleges to Look at Your Curated Social Media Profiles by Including URLs Within Your Applications

Getting into selective colleges is hard. Getting a large merit aid award is challenging. Use social media to stand out from the other highly qualified applicants. When you embed your social media URL(s) within your college applications and invite reviewers to learn more about you, you are increasing the chances that they will, and if done right, will be delivering compelling and differentiating information directly to the reviewer. This is your opportunity to shine!

Written for IECA by Alan Katzman

Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil


AP Scores and College Credits

AP Scores and College Credits

Although this year AP tests were “non-traditional”, many colleges have said that they will still award AP credit (see this list by Prompt).  AP scores will be available online beginning July 15.  Scores are released over several days based on the state in which you tested.  View the date and location schedule, and your scores, on the College Board website.  

What is the AP exam score scale? 

There is no “pass” or “fail” on the AP tests.  It’s important to understand the definitions of the AP scores. 

5 = extremely well qualified | Many universities award college credit  

4 = well qualified | Some universities award college credit 

3 = qualified | Some universities award college credit 

2 = possibly qualified | No college credit awarded 

1 = no recommendation | No college credit awarded 

Send Your Scores to Your College 

Be sure you send your scores to the college you are attending in the fall.  The college needs your official AP scores to award you any college credit.  Additionally, your college may use these scores for placement purposes.  Even if you do not receive credit, it’s important to send your official score report.  Check with your college to confirm their policy on awarding AP credit.  You can also find those policies on the AP Credit Policy Search site.  You may also hear this information from your advisor at orientation, or see your college credits on your school’s student web portal.      

What if I have other scores? 

Go to www.apscore.org to view scores on tests you took in previous years. 

I have other questions about AP scores.

You can contact the CollegeBoard directly for AP questions by emailing apstudents@info.collegeboard.org. 

Have further questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil

Founder, Weil College Advising, LLC


What’s with the Location of a College?

What’s with the Location of a College?

How do you describe where you live?  City?  Suburb?  Country?  What aspects of your current location do you like or not like – and how far are you willing to go from home?  As you explore colleges, one thing to consider is the location of the college.  Location can make a significant impact on your college experience.  Think about where you want to go to school.   

Here are the terms and definitions used in college “locations”: 

  • Major City: Population 300,000 or more: or within a 25-mile radius of a metro area. 
  • Small-Medium City: Population 75,000-299,999 or within 15 to 25 miles of a metro area. 
  • Large Town: Population 25,000-74,999 or within 10mile radius of a large town. 
  • Small Town: Population 5,000-24,999 or within 5mile radius of a small town. 
  • Rural: Population under 5,000, in or near a rural community. 

Things to consider related to location: 

  • Distance from home 
  • Nearest airport
  • Nearest large city 
  • Nearest outdoor experiences (beach, mountains, etc.)
  • Popular student gathering places on campus
  • Popular student gathering places off campus 
  • Nearest tourist attractions
  • Movies, shopping, restaurants, or other entertainment nearby
  • Employment/Internship opportunities
  • Your faith communityon or off-campus

Be sure to explore all the options.  View the college website for virtual tours.  Check for info on the surrounding community   Most importantly, look it up on a map. 

Take Action: Check your resources!

  • How many freshmen live on campus? 
  • Fiske Social Rating 
  • Fiske Quality Rating


Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil

Founder, Weil College Advising, LLC.

Juniors: Re-focus!

Juniors: Re-focus!

People around the world are adapting to a new normal.  Businesses are reinventing themselves, restaurants are offering delivery and takeout options, television news and late-night shows are broadcasting from home, and colleges and schools across the US have adopted online learning formats.  Now that you may be settling in to a different routine, it’s time to refocus your efforts and adopt some new strategies regarding college admission.   

Keep Your Grades Up 

Many colleges have announced that they will waive the SAT/ACT requirements for Fall 2021 applications.  Some are also discussing how to view junior year grades given the abrupt change to online learning and some schools adopting pass/fail grading.  Although it’s impossible to predict how every college will review their applications, maintaining a high GPA is the best advice.  Check in with your teachers, ask for help, focus on doing your best with what’s asked of you. Having consistently strong grades or even an upward trend can only benefit you in the application process.  

Study for AP Exams 

The CollegeBoard announced that both the May and June SAT dates have been canceled.  This means you can stop thinking about the SAT for now.  Instead, focus your efforts on studying for any AP exams you may have.  AP exams will be given online meaning that you may want to prepare for the test a bit differently.  CollegeBoard has a list of helpful tips in preparing for an online, open-book/open notes exam format.  Acing your AP exams is another way to show colleges your academic chops and potentially earn college credit saving yourself money and time in the future.           

Consider Virtual Volunteering or other Self-driven Extracurriculars 

With most school extracurriculars canceled, it’s time to rethink your activity list.  There are countless creative ways to demonstrate your skills or interests to a college.  Jodi Glou, another independent college consultant, compiled a great list of virtual volunteering opportunities.  Virtual volunteering is a great alternative to canceled summer plans and also an opportunity to use your skills to benefit organizations that may no longer have the in-person staff or funding to accomplish their mission.   

Take Action 

Don’t stress!  Andrew Palumbo, dean of admissions and financial aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass, wrote an open letter to high school juniors this week.  While he admits that there is a lot to worry about right now, he says grades and SAT scores shouldn’t be on that list.  His message to students: “We’ll figure it out together.”   

Bettina Weil

Founder, Weil College Advising. LLC

AP’s: New Format for 2020

AP’s: New Format for 2020

Worried about your upcoming AP tests or final exams?  In a normal year these exams can be anxiety-producing, but this year that may be particularly true.  AP exams will now be offered in an online, open-note/open-book format.  And as schools continue to cancel in-person classes for the rest of the year, you may find yourself taking more online or modified final exams.    

With all the information available to you, an online, open-book exam should be easy right?  Surprisingly, that may not be the case.  Open book/open note exams usually push students to synthesize responses that demonstrate comprehension rather than just regurgitating facts.  You should expect questions that may ask you to apply concepts in new ways.  The CollegeBoard has put together a list of tips for preparing for online exams.  Ultimately, knowing the material and having organized notes/resources will be your best strategy.  This means you should continue to devote study time to your AP exams just as you would if you were taking them in person.      

Thinking about scrapping the AP exams altogether?  You are not required by the CollegeBoard to take the AP exam (although your high school may have different policies around this).  The main incentive for taking the exam is the possibility of college credit.  While many colleges are adopting test-optional policies for admission, most have said that they will still award AP credit the same way they have in the past.  CollegeBoard has said that the AP exams will test content covered through early March.  You’ve already done the work for the exam; you just need to refine your skills.        

Take Action 

Find more tips and resources for preparing for AP exams on the CollegeBoard website.  You can apply these study tips to high school finals as well as future college exams.      

Seniors: Final Decisions During Covid-19

Seniors: Final Decisions During Covid-19

May 1 is traditionally National College Decision Day.  Typically, schools require that students choose where they will enroll by submitting an enrollment deposit on or before May 1.  That makes April – decision time.  Of course, this year things are feeling very different.  A large number of colleges have already extended their enrollment deadlines to June 1.  Making a college choice right now may feel difficult (or easy depending on where you were in the process).  Regardless, you might be asking yourself some of the questions below.

Can I ask for an extension? 

Of course!  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  Although the college may still have a May 1 deadline, many have said they will make extensions on a case by case basis.  You could be waiting on a financial aid appeal, or for more information from one college that would affect your decision at another.  Make your case requesting an enrollment deadline extension in writing to the admissions office.

What if I’m on the waitlist? 

Unfortunately for many students, it seems like colleges are sending lots of waitlist offers this year.  Forgive the sports metaphor – colleges want a deep bench in case their freshman enrollment numbers don’t play out the way they typically do.  Waitlist updates could continue throughout the summer.  As with every year, it’s best to send an enrollment deposit to a second-choice college that has admitted you even if you are on the waitlist at your first-choice.  There is no way to know if you will get accepted from the waitlist.

Maybe I should do a gap year? 

It’s possible – if you truly feel that’s in your best interest and you have a plan.  However, this may not be the best choice if you weren’t already considering this before the pandemic.  Most colleges defer enrollment for only a small number of students and they usually consider those requests on a case by case basis.  You should have solid answers for these three questions:  1) why do you want to take a gap year; 2) how will you spend your time; and 3) what will you learn from your experience?

My school is not open, I haven’t talked to my counselor, what about my final transcript?

Colleges understand that these are exceptional circumstances.  No one in education has ever experienced a disruption of quite this level.  Although colleges require your final high school transcript as a proof of graduation (and most also review your final high school grades), allowances will surely be made to get those transcripts submitted.

We are doing online learning – they say our grades will be pass/fail.  

Again, colleges are going to be making way for a lot of exceptions.  Don’t panic about final grades not looking like they normally would.  High schools across the country are doing their best in this unprecedented situation.  Colleges understand that.  Whether it’s sending unofficial documents via email, or extending the deadline, or waiving final grade requirements – submitting final enrollment paperwork may look differently this year.  The same will likely be true for orientation, housing contracts, and registration.

Take Action

The best advice for now is to stay informed.  Visit the admitted student websites (often) for the colleges you are considering, attend any online enrollment events, and read all of the email communication you receive from colleges!  Be in touch with your advisor (and your high school counselor) as they may have updates about changes to deadlines or policies.  And finally, NACAC is providing this online resource to students and families as a centralized place where you can check for updates on all your schools.

Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil

Founder, Weil College Advising, LLC